Dubai: The impact of cricket on Indians will be visible during the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup. It is not only a strong Indian squad, under the guidance of former Indian star Rahul Dravid as coach that will be competing in the tournament, but also many cricketers of Indian origin.
Jason Sangha, the skipper of the Australian team, is one of the most promising stars to watch and is of Indian origin. During a triangular under-19 series at the ICC Academy when Gulf News spoke to him, Jason revealed that his parents hail from the Indian state of Punjab. He will become the first Indian-origin cricketer to lead an Australia side. He had shown his potential to be a world class player in 2016 through this triangular series when he cracked a fighting 102 runs off 113 balls with 13 boundaries and two sixes against Pakistan to steer Australia’s Under-19 team to a 23-run victory. He recently became the youngest cricketer since Sachin Tendulkar to score a first-class hundred against England at 18 years and 71 days.
Even the hosts New Zealand have a superb allrounder in Rachin Ravindra. His family roots are from Bengaluru from where the Indian team coach Dravid hails. Rachin was born and brought up in Wellington where his father is an IT professional and also owns a cricket goods shop. Interestingly, Rachin’s idols are Sachin Tendulkar and Daniel Vettori.
All eyes will also be on Indian captain Prithvi Shaw. He had come into prominence by cracking 546 runs in an inter-school match in Mumbai in 2013. He has already hit five first-class centuries.
The West Indies team have Kirstan Kallicharan, who is already being talked about as the next Brian Lara following his unbeaten 404 in an Under-14 school match in 2014.
This edition will also see sons of great cricketers in action, like former Australian captain Steve Waugh’s son Austin Waugh and former South African pacer Makhaya Ntini’s son Thando Ntini.
Mujeeb Zadran, of Afghanistan, who played for Bengal Tigers in the recent T10 Cricket League at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium will be the bowler to watch out for in the tournament. This off spinner came to the limelight through his spell of four for 24 on an ODI debut against Ireland in Sharjah last month. In the Under-19 Asia Cup he produced spells of six for 28 in the semi-final against Nepal and five for 13 in the final against Pakistan.
Pakistan pace bowler Shaheen Afridi will be another player to watch out for his deadly spells. In his first-class debut he took eight wickets in an innings. This left-armer playing for Khan Research Laboratory against Rawalpindi picked eight for 39 in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
Bangladesh’s Pinak Ghosh is being talked about as a very impressive batsman. He was the second-highest run-getter in the 2017 Asia Cup where Bangladesh lost to Pakistan in the semi-finals.
Others to watch out for are England allrounder Will Jacks, Ireland left-arm seamer Joshua Little and South African hard-hitter Matthew Breetzke.