The ICC Under-19 World Cup begins in South Africa on Friday, with India looking to defend the title they won for the fourth time two years ago.
India are the most successful side in the competition and will begin their campaign on Sunday against Sri Lanka.
The Paras Mhambrey-coached team recently won a quadrangular series, involving the U-19 teams of South Africa, New Zealand and Zimbabwe, and will be confident of having a good run at the World Cup as well.
Here’s a look at India’s 15-member squad for the 2020 ICC Under-19 World Cup:
Priyam Garg (c)
Garg is a middle-order batsman and the captain of the team. The Meerut-born cricketer made his first-class debut in 2018 and has scored 867 runs in 12 games so far. He has also scored 707 runs in 19 List A matches. The right-hander led the victorious India U-19 team in the tri-nation series in England last year. At the Indian Premier League action last month, Garg was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs 1.9 crore.
Jaiswal is one of the batting mainstays of this team and has been in prolific form over the past six months. The left-hander took domestic cricket by storm this season, scoring 779 runs in 13 List A games. His double-century for Mumbai in the Vijay Hazare Trophy went a long way in him getting picked up by Rajasthan Royals for a whopping 2.4 crore in the IPL auction.
The first-choice leg-spinner in the team, Bishnoi heads into the World Cup on the back of some impressive performances in the quadrangular series. The tall leggie is used to making good use of his height and is known to get sharp turn off the pitch. The Jodhpur lad has 12 wickets from seven Youth ODIs to his name and is expected to play an important role for the Indian team in South Africa. He was picked up by Kings XI Punjab for Rs 2 crore in the IPL auction last month.
The tall pacer from Uttar Pradesh has some big shoes to fill. After the brilliant performances by the likes of Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti in 2018, Tyagi will be expected to provide the firepower with the new ball this time around. It helps that he can swing the ball both ways and get close to 140 kmph on a consistent basis. The right-arm fast bowler bagged nine wickets in five games in the Youth ODI series in England last year and will lead India’s pace attack in the upcoming World Cup. At the IPL auction, he was bought by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 1.3 crore.
The left-arm pacer is the fifth and final player from this team who managed to land a contract in the recent IPL auction. Singh was bought by Rajasthan Royals for his base price of Rs 20 lakh. He has taken nine wickets in as many games for the India U-19 team and will in all likelihood open the bowling attack at the World Cup with Tyagi.
Dhruv Chand Jurel (vc & wk)
The wicketkeeper-batsman from Uttar Pradesh is going in as a middle-order mainstay for India. Jurel scored a century in the final of the recently-concluded quadrangular series and is expected to play a key role at the No 5 position. He is yet to make his first-class or List A debut but has an average of 47.44 for the India U-19 team.
The left-arm spinner has been in red-hot form for the better part of the past 12 months. Ankolekar grabbed headlines when he took 5/28 against Bangladesh in the final of the U-19 Asia Cup last year. Since then, he has taken 15 wickets from seven games at an average of 11.80. The South African wickets will be challenging for him but India will have a major advantage if he manages to sustain his form.
The top-order batsman from Hyderabad made his first-class debut in the 2018-19 season but that was his only game at the level. Varma has 213 runs from six List A games to his name, which includes two half-centuries and a top score of 83. The left-handed batsman, who also bowls off-breaks, has scored 575 runs at an average of 41.07 for the India U-19 team.
Saxena, a left-handed batsman from Mumbai, slammed an unbeaten 128 against Zimbabwe in the quadrangular series a couple of weeks ago. He is yet to make his first-class and List A debut but has scored 597 runs in 13 matches for the India U-19 team.
A left-handed middle-order batsman and a right-arm medium-pace bowler, Rawat has scored 245 runs from 17 India U-19 games. Hailing from Gajiwali, Uttarakhand, he has not played first-class or List A cricket yet.
Veer was a late inclusion in the side after all-rounder Divyansh Joshi was ruled out due to injury. The right-handed batsman scored a 71 against New Zealand and a 48 not-out against South Africa in the recent quadrangular series. He has played age group cricket for Maharashtra but is yet to make his first-class or List A debut.
The left-handed batsman and left-arm spinner from Karnataka has played one first-class and and four List A games. Hegde scored 80 runs (with two not-outs) and took six wickets in four India U-19 games in South Africa this month.
Kumar Kushagra (wk)
The right-handed batsman and wicketkeeper from Bokaro, Jharkhand, hasn’t played first-class or List A cricket yet. Kushagra, the backup ‘keeper in the side, has played nine matches for the India U-19 team.
Mishra is a left-arm pacer from Ranchi and took 5/20 in a Youth ODI against Afghanistan last year. He hasn’t made his first-class or List A debut but has taken 29 wickets in 13 matches for the India U-19 team. Over the past two weeks in South Africa, he has taken 12 wickets in five games.
The right-arm medium pacer from Karnataka is yet to make his first-class or List A debut but has represented Hubli Tigers in the Karnataka Premier League. For the India U-19 team, he has taken 13 wickets in 12 matches.