U 19 WC 2018: Emerging players of the tournament

Kalerkantho Online   

4 February, 2018 10:29 AM

U 19 WC 2018: Emerging players of the tournament

Shubman Gill was adjudged as the Player of the Tournament for his fine performances © Getty

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Shubman Gill

From a team full of impressive youngsters, the opener from Chandigarh has made the most impact. Gill has numbers by his side - 418 runs at an average of 104.50 - finishing second on the batting charts. Beyond the numbers, Gill looks an exciting young batsman with nearly all the shots in his repertoire - a pre-requisite of the times he's playing in, when praise and brickbats come in abundance.

There have been handsome pull shots in front of square and the cheeky lap hits too, and a big hundred against Pakistan to leave a lasting impression on the minds of the viewing public. He began well in the final too, stitching a vital stand with Manjot Kalra for 60 runs.

Oh, and there's an IPL contract (worth INR 1.80 crore) as well.

Kamlesh Nagarkoti

A young Indian bowler cranking up deliveries over 140kmph for fun was always going to turn heads. The wiry-framed pacer from Rajasthan has had a successful tournament, picking 9 wickets. Nagarkoti's exuberance and penchant for pace will not go unnoticed, specially at a time when the senior side is reaping rewards of a highly-competitive pace attack. There's much to like about his quick bowling action too, though it might need tweaks as per Ian Bishop, who reckoned on air that the manner in which his back leg goes could lead to groin injuries in the long run.

Like Gill, the next big test for this youngster will be about how well he can do in the league of big men - IPL - if and when the opportunity arises. The chance should come, considering KKR invested INR 3.20 crore in him after fighting off interest from three other sides.


Jason Sangha

The Australia captain has been an inspirational figure in the Australian setup, leading the batting charts among his teammates. Sangha, Australia's youngest first-class centurion since Ricky Ponting in 1992-93, was 16 when he was first picked to play in an Under-19 World Cup, but was resigned to just watching it on the television, as did his teammates from then, as Australia decided not to travel to Bangladesh owing to security reasons. Two years on, Sangha didn't just get the chance to play, but also lead the team, which he's done quite admirably. Besides being an excellent No.3 batsman, Sangha also displayed great reflexes at first slip in the tournament - a very important skill to possess. He was particularly sharp against England in the quarterfinal, when his side defended a paltry total of 127.

Jack Edwards

Even in Australia's only group-stage defeat - by 100 runs to India - Jack Edwards scored an impressive 90-ball 73. He couldn't repeat the feat in the final, but a bright future awaits the opener who shares a few batting traits of England's Kevin Pietersen. Like the England cricketer, Edwards is tall-framed and has the knack of imposing himself on the bowlers from a very early stage. There's also a strong bottom handed grip and the urge to play a lot of flick shots. Edwards ended the tournament with 219 runs in five games, scoring at an average of 43.20.


Shaheen Afridi

This 17-year-old Pakistan player has quite a reputation to live upto. He has arrived at the Under-19 scene as an exciting fast bowler - a type of cricketer Pakistan have always prided themselves for producing, and comes with a surname that has been loved and revered for the last couple of decades. No pressure then, Shaheen.

Shaheen stands a good six feet six inches tall, and generates express pace, and has already drawn comparisons with a young Wasim Akram. The left-armer picked up the best figures on first-class debut - 8 for 39 in the Quaid-E-Azam trophy and has taken his wicket-taking prowess into the showpiece event. He demolished Ireland with a six-fer, and ended the tournament with 12 wickets to his name.


Mujeeb Zadran

Following Rashid Khan's rapid rise as a young spinner from Afghanistan, comes a 16-year-old offbreak bowler who - like Rashid - can befuddle batsmen with not just his trickery but also a deceptive bowling action. Like Rashid, even Zadran has proved to be a tough bowler to read off his hand, while there is also struggle to judge while way the ball will turn after pitching. Like Rashid, he's found success at a really young age, has had multiple IPL scouts watch and get impressed by him, and has evetually landed a big pay day at the lucrative tournament. Kings XI Punjab reserved as much as INR 6.25 crore for the youngster.

Mujeeb is all of 16, and made a name for himself with a scintillating show during the Under-19 Asia Cup 2017/18, picking 12 wickets in just three games. His form has dipped in the Under-19 World Cup as he picked only six wickets in five games, but great things are expected from the wily tweaker.

South Africa

Raynard van Tonder

The 19-year-old captain and one-drop batter for South Africa helped them overcome their failure in the 2016 edition (11th place finish) to a great extent. He began the tournament with a blistering 143 against Kenya. He smashed another century - 117 this time - against New Zealand in the fifth-place playoff semifinal, before a match-winning 87 helped South Africa finish the tournament at a respectable fifth play.


Afif Hossain

Bangladesh were quite dominant in the previous edition of the tournament, where they finished in the third spot. Away from home in alien New Zealand conditions, the going was tough. They relied heavily on their prodigious 18-year-old all-rounder Afif Hossain, who is also the youngest player to take a five-wicket haul for Rajshahi Kings in the BPL. At the World Cup, he made a modest start against Namibia, before putting in a complete allround performance against Canada (50 & 5/43). He scored three more half-centuries in the tournament while also picking three more wickets, becoming the only shining spot in Bangladesh's otherwise lakclustre campaign.


Harry Brook

Harry Brook had a mixed World Cup, which he came into at the back of a century against Ireland in January. He started with an unbeaten 69 and a two-wicket haul against Namibia, but ended it with an axing for breaking team rules. The England team management didn't reveal much, but did end his campaign before the seventh-place playoff fixture against New Zealand, which they managed to win. Before the controversy, Brook - who made his first-class debut for Yorkshire in 2016 and has played five fixtures for them - amassed big scores to finish as England's leading scorer of the tournament. His unbeaten 102 powered England to a group-stage victory over Bangladesh, but his run-a-ball 66 wasn't enough to topple the same opponent in the fifth-place playoff semifinal.

New Zealand

Rachin Ravindra

Rachin Ravindra is the sort of asset that most sides would love to have. The 18-year-old is third on New Zealand's list of top-scorers in the tournament (233 in 6 innings, including a century) while opening the batting and is also fourth on the overall bowling charts with 13 scalps with his left-arm spin. Since the bygone era where Daniel Vettori - with his left-arm spin and tidy batting skills - was much revered, any left-arm spinning all-rounder is viewed as the ultimate Vettori heir. Mitchell Santner is doing a decent job at the moment, but should New Zealand need another successor, they can turn to young Rachin.

Finn Allen

The Auckland-born No.3 batsman for New Zealand has impressed with big scores and big hits in equal measure. He finished the tournament with 338 runs, a century, most sixes (9), a strike rate of 119.01, an average of 67.60 and thus, fourth on the list of top-scorers. He began the tournament with an unbeaten 115 against the Windies and a 90 against Kenya, but lost form in the next three games. He scored a 100-ball 87 in the seventh-place playoff against England, but ended up on the losing side.

Source: Cricbuzz