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'Their maturity bodes well for Indian cricket'

Source: PTI
February 12, 2024 15:43 IST
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Left-arm pacer Naman Tiwari celebrates a wicket with captain Uday Saharan. Tiwari finished with 12 wickets in the Under-19 World Cup

IMAGE: Left-arm pacer Naman Tiwari celebrates a wicket with captain Uday Saharan. Tiwari finished with 12 wickets in the Under-19 World Cup. Photograph: ICC/X

India U-19 head coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar is confident that at least a couple of players from the 2024 batch, that ensured a fifth consecutive final appearance for the record five-time champions, will go on to play for the senior team.

Although five-time champions India lost the final to Australia by 79 runs, players like skipper Uday Saharan, Musheer Khan, Saumy Pandey and Sachin Dhas were impressive throughout the tournament.

 

"Definitely (the future of India is very bright). As a bowling side and as a batting side, there have been stand out performances by quite a few players.

"They have shown maturity in tough situations and that bodes well for Indian cricket," Kanitkar said at the post-match press conference on Sunday.

Saharan, who plays for Punjab, ended the tournament as the highest run-getter with 397 runs.

His stature grew as the tournament progressed. He scored a century against Nepal before playing a match-winning 81 in the semi-final against South Africa.

Batter Musheer Khan amassed 360 runs in the tournament with two hundreds and a fifty. 

IMAGE: Batter Musheer Khan amassed 360 runs in the tournament with two hundreds and a fifty. Photograph: ICC/X

Number three batter Musheer, the younger brother of prolific Mumbai batter Sarfaraz Khan, was the team's most consistent performer with the bat and ended with 360 runs.

The two other stand-out players were Dhas, who revelled in the role of a finisher, and left-arm spinner Pandey, who snared 18 wickets.

Maharashtra batter Dhas showed temperament, a pre-requisite for the highest level.

The Indian team has always been an age-group powerhouse and the U-19 World Cup has presented stars like Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammed Kaif, Suresh Raina, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill and Yashasvi Jaiswal to name a few.

"Everytime time there are a couple of guys who step up either in the IPL or the Indian team. I'm sure there will be a couple, but there is great competition back home," Kanitkar added.

Squad members Arshin Kulkarni and Avanish Rao went into the U-19 World Cup having already secured IPL contracts.

Kanitkar feels playing in the U-19 World Cup provides the players with an insight into the senior level.

"For the players great journey, everything is highlighted, these performances matter, they are under the scanner. They get used to these situations. The know what expect and are prepared when they play higher cricket," said the 49-year-old head coach.

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