Indian spinners have led the for the team in the league stages  Photo Courtesy: Official website of ICC
Indian spinners have led the for the team in the league stages. Photo Courtesy: Official website of ICC

 

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

 

Dubai: Feb 21, 2014

 

India and England face-off in the quarter-final of the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2014 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday. It has been a good ride for the defending champions, barring the scare against the Scots, as they made it through to the quarter-final unbeaten in the league stages. England emerged from the ‘Group of death’ as their last league game against New Zealand was virtually a knock-out, which they won to make it through.

 

If there is a slight worry for India, it is their batting. While they did put good scores against Pakistan and Papua New Guinea (PNG), it was often the middle order that helped build the lead. Akhil Herwadkar, Vijay Zol and Ankush Bains are just getting into their game mindsets. But, Sanju Samson smashed his way into great form with an aggressive knock against PNG, plus he had a good hit against Pakistan as well. Then there is the young Sarfaraz Khan who has been very impressive in the league stages with some good aggressive knocks.

 

India’s spin department is well set with all-rounder Deepak Hooda rolling his arm over with his off-spinners. Kuldeep Yadav is the main weapon as his left-arm chinamen have troubled the batsmen. The English would be better players when compared to India’s last two oppositions, but Yadav may still test them. And then of course, there is Aamir Gani , who has been impressive as well. Chama Milind is settled as the left-arm quick in the side.

 

India do have to decide on two spots in the line-up. Shreyas Iyer replaced Ricky Bhui for the match against PNG and did well. So, there may be a temptation to persist with him. On the other hand, Monu Kumar also had a great game against PNG, keeping Avesh Khan out. But, Avesh has been a settled bowler and one wonders whether India will bring him back for this crucial game.

 

England have had some mixed fortunes so far. They had a hiccup against Sri Lanka, but recovered well against New Zealand to make their way into the quarter-final. Will Rhodes leads a side that has numerous talented players in their ranks. Dominic Sibley, Jonathan Tattersall, Ryan Higgins and Ed Bernard are some of the men who make up their batting. It is interesting to see whether they get Ben Duckett back into their side, the wicket-keeper who did well against United Arab Emirates. Matthew Fisher, skipper Rhodes and Rob Sayer are some of their main bowlers.

 

This is a good match-up and after two encounters against the minnows, India face a tough opponent. England have come back the harder way and it is interesting to see who would hold their nerve in this crucial encounter. India may be favourites, but don’t count England out.

 

Squads:

 

India Under-19: Vijay Zol (c), Akhil Herwadkar, Ankush Bains (wk), Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Aamir Gani, Avesh Khan, Monu Kumar, Chama Milind, Kuldeep Yadav, Ricky Bhui, Karan Kaila, Atit Sheth.

 

England Under-19: Will Rhodes (c), Harry Finch, Dominic Sibley, Ryan Higgins, Jonathan Tattersall, Ed Bernard, Joe Clarke (wk), Rob Sayer, Rob Jones, Jack Winslade, Matthew Fisher, Ben Duckett (wk), Miles Hammond, Josh Shaw, Luke Wood.

 

Time: 11:00 IST | 05:30 GMT

 

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)