Every U-19 World Cup throws promising talents. Two years ago, the triumphant Indian side under Prithvi Shaw covered the champion quotient from top to bottom. Shubman Gill, Manjot Kalra, Shaw handled the batting department, while Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Ishan Porel and Shivam Mavi formed a potent pace attack.
The 2020 edition has been slightly different. Despite the consistency, India slipped against Bangladesh in the final. But, there were moments of sunshine; courtesy, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ravi Bishnoi and Kartik Tyagi.
Most of the middle-order batsmen, including skipper Priyam Garg, didn’t get enough chances to showcase their skills. India beat Japan and Pakistan by 10 wickets, and the rain-curtailed match against New Zealand halted India’s batting at 115 for no loss. In the remaining three games, the bat was lost for strokes. Garg scored his only fifty against Sri Lanka.
Jaiswal was the fulcrum of the batting department with Divyansh Saxena as the second-in-command. Even before the tournament started, the left-hander’s story of struggle in Mumbai maidans had earned him well-wishers.
And around that time, he bagged an IPL gig on the back of a double hundred in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Rajasthan Royals bought him for Rs 2.4 crore.
The man of the tournament finished with 400 runs – the highest in the tournament – and three crucial wickets. His occasional leg-spin broke partnerships. With the bat, he remained unbeaten on three occasions.
The knocks against Pakistan (105 not out) and Bangladesh (88 in the final) stood out. Jaiswal had solid support from Saxena, the other opener, who remained unbeaten against New Zealand (52) and Pakistan (59) respectively.
Tyagi, who has a lethal yorker, ran through the batsmen. The right-arm fast bowler from Uttar Pradesh finished the Cup with 11 wickets including a 4/24 against Australia. The damage started with the Japan game when he picked up three for 10. He just maintained the momentum to pick up two more against Pakistan in the semifinal.
In the final, he bowled five extras but still finished with 33 runs in his quota of 10 overs, including two maidens. He was unlucky to have not got a wicket. Even he will wear the Royals jersey in the IPL.
Quicker and flatter, with a vicious googly, Bishnoi dominated the Cup with 17 wickets – the highest in the tournament and the most by any Indian in the history of the U-19 World Cup.
He took three four-fors – 4/5 against Japan, 4/30 against New Zealand and 4/30 against Bangladesh in the final, albeit in a losing cause. In fact, the leggie’s first spell almost choked Bangladesh but the cubs held their nerve to play him out. The world will see more of Bishnoi when he turns out for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.
A special mention for Atharva Ankolekar, who took 3/28 against New Zealand and scored a gutsy 55 not out against Australia at No 7. He could be a handy all-rounder for the future.
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