U-19 World Cup 2022: From Yash Dhull to Harnoor Singh, meet the Indian stars set to play in tournament in West Indies
U-19 World Cup 2022: From Yash Dhull to Harnoor Singh, meet the Indian stars set to play in tournament in West Indies
India's colts will aim to maintain the super high standards set by their predecessors as they prepare to play the Under-19 World Cup in West Indies. The four-time defending champions are the most successful team in U19 World Cup history having won the title in 2000, 2008, 2012 and 2018.
In each of the last three editions, India's U19 side has reached the finals, losing out to West Indies (2016) and Bangladesh (2020) either side of a title win in New Zealand in 2018 under Prithvi Shaw.
Led by Delhi player Yash Dhull, India have a strong 17-member squad (in addition to five reserve players) in the Caribbean Islands, where they are grouped with Ireland, South Africa and Uganda in Group B.
The team recently won the ACC U19 Asia Cup - a record eighth title - in the UAE, beating Sri Lanka in the finals after an early setback against Pakistan. They also featured in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy, the Men's U19 One Day Challenger Trophy and a tri-series involving India A and India B U19 teams aside from the Bangladesh U19 team, which won the series, in Kolkata in 2021.
The U19 team is coached by former India international Hrishikesh Kanitkar, who was the batting coach of the side in the last edition of the tournament. Sairaj Bahutule will be the bowling coach and Munish Bali the fielding coach.
Here's a glance at each of the 17 Indian players in the main squad for the tournament.
Yash Dhull (captain)
The 19-year old Delhi batter is an experienced captain having led the Delhi under-16 and under-19 teams. He first came into the spotlight at under-16 level when he smashed a 186* against Punjab in the Vijay Merchant Trophy. In the build up to the World Cup, Dhull had terrific outings in the Vinoo Mankad for Delhi - 302 runs at an average of 75.5 - and Challenger Trophy for India A - 168 runs at an average of 56 - and was the undisputed choice to lead the team to the World Cup. He had an average Asia Cup with the bat, making one half-century in the five matches and averaging 28.75. But he has hit the ground running in the West Indies ahead of the tournament, scoring a half-century in the first warm-up game against the hosts.
Dhull's father gave up his job in the cosmetic industry to help mould his career. The family used to live off their grandfather’s army pension at the time Dhull took to cricket. His father stated in a recent interview with Times Now that he "gave him [Dhull] the best of English willow bats" and kept upgrading them. Dhull proved to be a composed skipper in the recent U19 Asia Cup and has been compared with the likes of KL Rahul, although he stated recently that he does not have one particular hero and that anyone who plays internationals is a good enough role model.
Having fallen in love with the game as an 11-year old, he developed his game at the Bal Bhawan school academy.
SK Rasheed (vice-captain)
The Andhra batter is India's batting mainstay heading to the tournament. His unwavering support was his father Shaik Rasheed, who left his bank job and lived on just his savings to help his son get more exposure and better training.
In the Vinoo Mankad Trophy, he finished as the second-highest run-scorer with 376 runs at an average of 75.2. Rasheed was only dismissed once in three innings in the Challenger Trophy, totalling 274 runs, including a hundred. The anchor in this batting line-up, Rasheed's strike-rate in these tournaments were in the mid-70s, but his consistency and stability allowed the rest of the team to bat around him.
In the recent Asia Cup tournament in UAE, Rasheed stepped up in the crucial semi-final clash against Bangladesh, making an unbeaten 90 in India's total of 243 to walk away with the Player of the Match award. He then combined with opener Angkrish Raghuvanshi to ease India to a nine-wicket win in the finals against Sri Lanka. Rasheed also shone in the tri-series in Kolkata, averaging 77.5 and making yet another hundred. Across the three major U19 competitions last year, Rasheed plundered four hundreds and four fifties and totalled over 800 runs.
In the second warm-up game on Wednesday, 11 January, ahead of the U19 World Cup, Rasheed hit 72 (retired hurt) against Australia in India's successful run chase.
Hailing from Ghaziabad, Siddharth Yadav owes a lot of his success to his father, a shopkeeper who went out of his way to ensure that his kid got adequate training. Having had a stellar debut under-16 season for UP a few years back, Siddharth's rise is partly a result of his very supportive father.
"He started playing cricket at the age of three. He used to play good shots and that made me realize that I should send him to professional training. I used to shut my store every day between 2 pm to 6 pm to take him for practice. Both of us even stopped attending family and social gatherings, just for his dream of playing for team India, and today he made that dream come true," his father told ANI after the World Cup squad selection.
Siddharth made 258 runs at an average of 43.0 in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy and averaged 36.5 in the U19 tri-series. However, the strong impression he made in the Challenger Trophy for India B might have been a major factor in his World Cup selection. Making 361 runs in the tournament, Siddharth struck at a rate of 124.9, clubbing 19 sixes in the tournament.
From a cricketing family, Harnoor Singh is in the World Cup squad on the back of a stellar Challenger Trophy where he blasted three centuries in four innings, totalling 418 runs, the most by any player, at an average of 209 and a strike-rate of 101.45. He also made 191 runs in the U19 tri-series, finishing as the second-highest run-scorer, averaging 63.67.
While he missed out in the finals against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup U19 tournament in UAE - he made five in the final - Harnoor was the leading run-scorer, making 251 runs at an average of 50.2 including a hundred. He was named as the Player of the tournament for his batting performance.
He has started the tour of the Caribbean Islands on a sensational note, recording a brilliant hundred in the successful run chase against Australia in the second warm-up game.
Harnoor took to the sport after being introduced to it by his grandfather, a former Ranji Trophy player as his father told The Indian Express recently. He played on an empty plot near his home in Jalandhar initially before moving to Chandigarh to train with his uncle, Bhupinder Singh Jnr, who was once the Player of the Tournament in the first-ever edition of U19 Asia Cup in Dhaka. His father, a state U19 player, hopes to interview Harnoor after India wins the U19 World Cup, a dream that’s not too far-fetched given the kind of form his son is in.
The all-rounder from Haryana comes off the back of a strong showing in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy, where his performances as skipper played a major part in Haryana winning the title. In the final against Maharashtra, Nishant's calm 64 off 99 balls led Haryana to a fairly comfortable run chase of 173.
He made 299 runs at an average of 37.38 with the bat in the tournament, but was also impactful with his left-arm spin bowling, picking up 12 wickets at an average of 13.16. He played just one match in the U19 tri-series, and had an ordinary Challenger Trophy with the bat, although he took seven wickets at an average of 24.6 in the tournament. After another average Asia Cup, Nishant made a strong start to his Caribbean sojourn with an unbeaten 78 from No.6 in the first warm-up game against West Indies.
The 17-year old opener is hailed as a superstar in the making and came through age-group cricket in Mumbai after moving there to be coached by Abhishek Nayar. He made 214 runs at an average of 71.3 in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy and 132 runs at an average of 44 in the tri-series in Kolkata, but had a reasonably poor Challenger Trophy.
After four ordinary games in the U19 Asia Cup, Raghuvanshi turned it around in the final against Sri Lanka, slamming his first half-century in the tournament to lead India's run chase. Mumbai's U19 selector Atul Ranade recently compared him to a young Rohit Sharma, calling the youngster's pull shot and drive to be pretty similar to that of Rohit. The teenager, though, is a huge fan of Sachin Tendulkar and AB de Villiers.
Aaradhya Yadav (wicket-keeper)
Idolising MS Dhoni, wicket-keeper batter Aaradhya Yadav will compete with Dinesh Bana for the wicket-keeping slot at the U19 World Cup. His 42 in the warm-up game against West Indies revealed lots of promise of his batting capabilities, and he could just cut it as a non-wicket-keeper too in the playing XI.
Another player from Ghaziabad, Aaradhya and Siddharth train under the same coach. The wicket-keeper took to the sport quite early and has played age-group cricket as an under-14 player. A tad overweight initially, Aaradhya worked hard on his fitness and can also open the batting, although he has donned the middle-order role for the India colts side.
He made a fifty in the U19 Asia Cup game against Pakistan that India lost, resisting a really strong bowling attack even as most in the top and middle-order crumbled. He also made 295 runs at an average of 42.14 in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy.
A stellar Challenger Trophy and Vinoo Mankad Trophy sees Kaushal Tambe in the U19 World Cup squad, but he had a largely underwhelming Asia Cup with the bat. A batting all-rounder from Maharashtra, Tambe's off-spin is more than handy, but it is his batting that earned a spotlight in the U19 tournaments.
In the Vinoo Mankad Trophy, Tambe smashed 328 runs, including two tons, at an average of 54.67. In the Challenger Trophy, he hit 134 runs at an average of 67 for India D. A prolific age-group player, Tambe has been playing for the West Division of the Maharashtra State Union for several years. In 2016, he was named the Most Promising Player of the Year by the Maharashtra Cricket Association.
In the U19 Asia Cup, he had an ordinary outing with the bat but picked up six wickets at an average of 15.16.
Dinesh Bana (wicket-keeper)
The Haryana wicket-keeper batter made a strong impression in the Challenger Trophy where he smashed a 170 off a mere 98 balls for India F against India B. Known for his power-hitting capabilities, Dinesh has been used in a lower middle-order role. He averaged 85 in the Challenger Trophy, making 255 runs, finishing as the fifth-highest run-scorer, although a large chunk of that came in the one game. His strike-rate of 132.12 was also the best in the tournament. He made 180 runs, including an unbeaten 70, averaging 90.0 in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy.
He kept wickets in the two warm-up matches ahead of the U19 World Cup and it appears that India are looking to play Aaradhya as a pure batter and Dinesh as the wicket-keeper in the tournament.
The fast bowling all-rounder from Himachal Pradesh comes from a sporting family with his father, Sukhwinder Bawa, also the coach of Yuvraj Singh. His grandfather was a part of the India hockey team that won gold at the 1948 London Olympics.
A right-arm quick, Bawa made a strong impression in the U19 Asia Cup recently, sharing a four-wicket haul against Pakistan and finishing the tournament with eight wickets at an average of 21.37. He also had a reasonably good Challenger Trophy, picking up eight wickets at an average of 18.0 and making 154 runs, notably at a strike-rate of 114.92.
Raj recently told Sportstar that he took to cricket after travelling with his father as he coached various state sides. Sukhwinder initially trained Bawa to be a pacer, but quickly realised his batting potential and focused on helping him add both skills to his repertoire. “When he started cricket, he started as a medium pacer. I always knew that I could work on his bowling at a later stage and worked on his batting alone. It has helped him to grow as an all-rounder,” Sukhwinder told The Indian Express.
Manav Parakh is an off-spinner from Tamil Nadu and the first player from the state to make it to the U19 World Cup after Washington Sundar in 2016. He took four wickets at an average of 37.75 in the Challenger Trophy, but was outstanding in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy, picking up 16 wickets, joint-third-most, at an average of 11.5, while also making over 100 runs in the tournament, including one half-century.
Parakh came into the spotlight in the Vijay Merchant Trophy in 2018 where he made over 400 runs and captured 23 wickets but missed quite a lot of cricket soon after when he sustained a knee injury. A big fan of Ravichandran Ashwin and Washington Sundar, other Tamil Nadu off-spinners to make it big, the teenager has been playing for the state side right from the under-14 category. He didn't, however, get to play in the U19 Asia Cup but made amends in the warm-up game against West Indies last week, picking up 3/34 in his 10 overs.
Recently, social media went gaga when Rajvardhan Hangargekar sent down a sensational opening spell that read 5-1-9-0 in the final of the U19 Asia Cup against Sri Lanka. For those familiar with Hangargekar's rise in age-group cricket, though, it came as no surprise.
He has already made his List A and T20 debuts for the senior Maharashtra side and is believed to be in the radar of a few IPL teams ahead of the mega auction. Clocking over 140kph, Hangargekar is known as the Marathwada Express and was superb in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy where he finished as the second-highest wicket-taker with 19 wickets at an average of 11.57 and an economy rate under four runs per over.
To top this, he struck 16 sixes in the tournament, the most by any player, striking at 132.51 and even smashing a ridiculous 93, when his team were 83 for 7 at one point, in the semi-final of the Vinoo Mankad Trophy against Hyderabad.
While he started off as an off-spinner for his U14 side, Hagargekar took to pace with his side needing a quick bowler. He soon found himself to be quite a natural and stuck with bowling pace since. Training with Mohan Jadhav, Hangargekar has increased pace on his deliveries and appears a lethal proposition for teams this World Cup.
One of the star performers in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy, Uttar Pradesh seamer Vasu Vats took 16 wickets at an average of 7.7. Eight of those came in one ridiculous spell against Nagaland where he took a hat-trick and finished with scarcely believable figures of 8/4. He was ruled out of the tri-series in Kolkata after a game with an injury and subsequently did not play a part in the Asia Cup as well, although the latter is believed to be a precautionary measure. He didn't play a part in the two warm-up games in the Caribbean Islands either.
At six feet and two inches, Vats is a tall seamer who can extract movement and bounce. Hailing from Saharanpur, Vats was intent on making a name in age-group cricket and did so with aplomb with his spell of 8/4, which his team coach called as something he had "never seen" by such a young bowler.
The all-rounder from Bengaluru put in solid performances in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy and Challenger Trophy but did not get a game in the Asia Cup. He captained the India B team in the U19 tri-series, but his World Cup selection is likely on the back of his terrific performances in the other two U19 tournaments.
In the Vinoo Mankad Trophy, he made 239 runs at an average nearly touching 80 and also shared seven wickets at 20.5 runs apiece with his left-arm spin. In the Challenger Trophy, he made 209 runs at an average of 52.25 and took three wickets. Another half-century in the tri-series confirmed his place in the World Cup squad.
Gautam also earned his first senior call-up, with Karnataka naming him in the Ranji Trophy squad for the season, although the tournament itself was later cancelled with COVID-19 concerns.
While Hangargekar bowled a terrific spell from one end in the U19 Asia Cup final, Ravi Kumar produced an equally good showing from the other. The 18-year old quick is the only left-arm seamer in the World Cup squad and is likely to be in the first-choice attack. He finished the Asia Cup with just four wickets, but clocked the best economy rate among Indian fast bowlers.
In the second warm-up game against Australia in Providence, Ravi picked up 4/34 to restrict the Aussies. He took 11 wickets in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy, averaging just 8.72 and conceding runs at a miserly rate of 2.75 runs per over.
The strike bowler in Haryana's victorious Vinoo Mankad Trophy campaign, Sangwan, a right-arm quick, took 13 wickets at an average of 13.84 He finished the Challenger Trophy as the highest wicket-taker, taking 13 wickets at an average of 11.07. His performances in the two tournaments sealed his place in the U19 World Cup squad.
It remains to be seen if he makes the first-choice squad, but he picked up 2/18 against West Indies in the first warm-up game to push his case. He only played one game in the U19 Asia Cup, picking up two wickets, but erred on the expensive side.
The all-rounder shot to limelight in the final of the U19 Asia Cup against Sri Lanka, picking up match-figures of 8-3-11-3 to win the Player of the Match. A left-arm spinner, Ostwal will be competing with three other spin-bowling all-rounders in the India squad for a place in the starting XI.
Ostwal also shone in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy with bat and ball, making 291 runs and taking 11 wickets. But it is his Asia Cup showing - and not just in the final - that makes him a favourite to start for India in the U19 World Cup. The Asia Cup saw him finishing with eight wickets, most by an Indian bowler, at a brilliant economy rate of 2.29. He didn't play in the two warm-up matches in West Indies, but is expected to come into the XI for India's opening game of the tournament against South Africa.
Aside from the 17 players, India also have five travelling reserves: Rishit Reddy, Uday Saharan, Ansh Gosai, Amrit Raj Upadhyay, Amrit Raj Upadhyay.