Sanju Samson amassed 160 runs at an average of 40 in ICC World Cup 2014. Photo Courtesy: Official Website of ICC
Such is the format of the World Cup that despite doing all the hard-work, a loss in the knockout phase would mean all that hard-work proving to be futile. Despite a solid show in the league phase, India Under-19 team faltered in the quarter-final. Abhijit Banare looks at some of the players who impressed for India.
1. Sarfraz Khan had already caught the eyes of many in the school level. One of the three gems at the Rizvi Springfield with a 439 in the Harris Shield. Sarfaraz’s batting style made him an ideal batsman in the lower order. Success at Under-19 level doesn’t always indicate the future of a young cricketer, but Sarfaraz’s excellence in this tournament ensures that he will be a player to watch out for. Moreover, given his young age, he might as well get another shot at the Under-19 World Cup, in two years time.
Kuldeep Yadav outfoxed the batsmen in ICC Under-19 World Cup 2014 with his left-arm chinaman bowling. Photo Courtesy: Official website of ICC
2. More than the wickets, it was a delight to watch Kuldeep Yadav’s bowling. In all the matches he bowled, Kuldeep turned out to be the mystery bowler for many. India has produced many great spinners, but Kuldeep is unique. While Kuldeep’s chinaman deliveries have foxed the batsmen, his wrong-un acts as another bow in his arrow. Another rare talent who needs to be nurtured well in the long run. While the success often covers the flip-sides, Kuldeep’s lack of fitness on view wouldn’t be an ideal scenario when he breaks into higher levels of cricket. Fitness has been slightly neglected in Indian cricket especially, when you see the athleticism of players in other countries.
3. Monu Kumar
Monu Kumar‘s bowling can serve as a subject for bio-mechanical experts to have a research on. With a physique anything but that of a pacer, Kumar’s accuracy and pace are deceptive. With a high-arm action he manages to generate decent amount of pace. Kumar is another representative of raw talent with great abilities emerging out of India’s rural areas.
Both Sanju Samson (left) and Vijay Zol played with a mature head on their young shoulders. Photo Courtesy: Goran Saxena’s Twitter Account
4. Vijay Zol
While watching the game, we often get carried away by seeing them in Indian jerseys. But one has to understand that they are all in the early stages of their respective careers. But Vijay Zol showed great maturity in handling his bowlers. He showed tactical nous in the field. He consistently shuffled his bowlers. However, in the quarter-final, his reluctance to bring back pacers at crucial moments of the game showed his over-dependence on spinners. He followed the route that had taken India to the quarter-final stage of the tournament. The fact is, the spinners had done the job for him, and he trusted a spinner. Unfortunately, the crucial penultimate over by Deepak Hooda sealed the match in England’s favour. In the end, what matters is that how his leadership skill evolves, over a period of time.
5. Sanju Samson
It’s just about time you might see him knocking on the doors of the senior team. Sanju Samson’s maturity is clearly visible especially, with all the experience he has had during the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the success in the Ranji Trophy as well. Two impressive half-centuries in the four matches at the Under-19 World Cup was just another feather added to Samson’s cap. Like Zol and Sarfaraz, his success goes beyond this tournament.
Under-19 World Cup is just the start of a promising career for many. Virat Kohli has evolved as a player since he led the Under-19 setup to a World Cup win. Over a period of time, some flourish in the domestic structure and progress ahead, while a few others get lost in the wilderness.
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed onTwitterandblog)