2018 Under-19 World Cup: Rating the victorious Indian squad
Fulfilling the expectations of one and all, a strong Indian team completed a dominant triumph in the 2018 edition of the ICC Under-19 World Cup. They began their campaign by steamrollering Australia by 100 runs at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui last month. After brushing aside Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe, the Prithvi Shaw-led team cruised to the knockout stages of the tournament.
Following contrasting victories against Bangladesh and Pakistan, they surged to the final. Returning to the venue of their opening match, India thumped Australia by eight wickets and lifted the coveted trophy.
Under the wise tutelage of head coach Rahul Dravid, the dominant Indian unit delivered a record fourth Under-19 crown in the country's trophy cabinet. Aside from the palpable euphoria generated by the triumphant campaign, the event also saw India unearth quite a few possible future stars. Here's how each member of the squad fared in the tournament.
Shubman Gill - 9.5
Undoubtedly, the emergence of Shubman Gill was the biggest find of the tournament for Indian cricket. Evoking similarities with the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli, the promising talent from Punjab captivated everyone with his spectacular stroke-play.
From six matches, Gill plundered 372 runs at a scarcely believable average of 124 and rapid strike-rate of 112.38 with one century as well as three fifties. His unbeaten 102 in the semi-final against arch-rivals Pakistan was an innings of the highest quality. For his consistency, he was aptly named as Player of the Tournament. With the number four spot in the senior team up for grabs, he should be fast-tracked into the ODI squad.
Anukul Roy - 9.5
Spending his time under the shadow of the belligerent batsmen and barnstorming pacers, Anukul Roy silently shouldered the spin department. His profound tactical nous was quite apparent from the manner in which he varied his lengths.
Knowing when to toss the ball and when to make the batsmen reach out, Roy was in complete command of his game. With 14 scalps at an astonishing average of 9.07 and parsimonious economy-rate of 3.84, the left-arm spinner finished the tournament as its leading wicket-taker.
Prithvi Shaw - 9
Even before the tournament, captain Prithvi Shaw was earmarked as the next propitious batting talent from India. He managed to live up to his top billing by amassing 261 runs at an impressive average of 65.25 and fast strike-rate of 94.56.
His steady starts at the top of the order set the platform for India's charge. While his 94 in the team's first game was a commendable knock, he will be slightly disappointed at registering only two fifty-plus scores. Shaw's strong leadership skills were instrumental in instilling confidence within the squad.
Manjot Kalra - 9
Manjot Kalra began the tournament with a tone-setting 86. While he formed a reliable opening partnership with his skipper, another substantial score evaded him until the final. In the all-important title clash, he rose to the occasion and smashed an unbeaten century.
Kalra, who won the Player of the Match award in the final, played six matches in the event and scored 252 runs at a remarkable average of 84 and strike-rate of 89.36.
Kamlesh Nagarkoti - 9
Long gone are the days when India served up medium pacers at the start of the innings. In sync with the evolving pace attack in and around the senior team, Kamlesh Nagarkoti clocked high speeds on a regular basis.
Short and slippery in nature, Nagarkoti picked up nine wickets at an average of 16.33 and economy-rate of 3.48. Defying his diminutive frame, his ability to generate serious pace turned him into a major threat for opposition batsmen.
Shivam Mavi - 9
Much like Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi's rise is also a massive boost for India's growing pace fortunes. With strong shoulders, the strapping pacer bowled his heart out and subsequently got plenty of assistance from the hard New Zealand pitches.
From six matches in the tournament, Mavi picked nine wickets at an average of 18.88 and economy-rate of 4.12. Beyond numbers, the fast bowler also managed to impress the likes of Ian Bishop with his raw potential.
Harvik Desai - 8.5
While the focus has always been on the two premier departments of the game, the importance of a dependable wicket-keeper can never be understated. Be it keeping to the pace of Nagarkoti and Mavi or standing up to Roy and company, Harvik Desai's glove-work was exemplary.
After coming into the playing eleven in the game against Zimbabwe, he made the spot his own and contributed to six dismissals. Desai also scored 157 runs at an average of 78.50 including a handy 47 in the final.
Ishan Porel - 8.5
Although he did not possess the raw pace of Mavi or Nagarkoti, Ishan Porel still managed to trouble opposition batsmen with his propensity to extract extra bounce. The tall seamer's tournament tally of six wickets came in the semi-final and final.
Abhishek Sharma - 8
With his all-round skills, Abhishek Sharma lent enormous balance to the playing eleven. His telling contribution to India's campaign came during the quarter-final. The southpaw's 49-ball fifty took the game beyond Bangladesh's reach. In all, he also picked six wickets at a steadfast economy-rate of 3.91.
Shiva Singh - 8
On face value, Shiva Singh's numbers from the tournament may not stand out. He picked up four wickets from six matches at an average of 33. However, the left-arm spinner's immaculate control can be discerned from his splendid economy-rate of 3.23 which was the best among all Indian bowlers who delivered more than ten overs.
Arshdeep Singh - 7
Arshdeep Singh played just two matches in the event and gathered three scalps. While his accuracy still did the trick against the likes of Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe, the left-arm seamer's lack of pace saw him lose his spot to the much quicker bowlers for the more high-profile matches.
Riyan Parag - 6.5
Rated highly by head coach Rahul Dravid, Riyan Parag was rather under-utilised by skipper Prithvi Shaw. Across four matches, he bowled only 14 overs and picked three wickets at a splendid economy-rate of 3.42. Two outings with the bat fetched him just 17 runs.
Himanshu Rana - 6
Himanshu Rana played in two matches and got to bat only once in the tournament. He scored a 19-ball 14 in India's opening clash against Australia. The part-time medium pacer also sent down four overs without much success.
Aryan Juyal - 6
16-year old Aryan Juyal featured in the first couple of matches against Australia and Papua New Guinea. The wicket-keeper effected three dismissals across those two games before losing his spot to Harvik Desai.