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Maturity, Balance and Panache: Playing cricket the Ayush Badoni way

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A middle-order gem for India U-19 squad
A middle-order gem for India U-19 squad

Over the last couple of years or so, Indian cricket has been on the path of a phenomenal growth. No, the IPL or the senior side is not being discussed here. This time, it is about the upcoming stars, the vast talent pool of Indian cricket. It's about the domestic circuit and tournaments like U-19 Challengers trophy.

U-19 cricket has attracted a lot of people in India recently. The U-19 Indian players are immensely talented, hard-working and motivated to give it all. Though India has won the U-19 World Cup Trophy on 4 different occasions, the 2018 World Cup win turned out to be a spectacle. The kind of dominance Indian youth brigade showed under the guidance of the legendary cricketer Rahul Dravid became the talk of the town in world cricket.

Media did a great job at bringing eyes to the U-19 squad. More and more people were eager to know about the upcoming stars of Indian cricket. Talented players like Prithvi Shaw, Shubhman Gill, and Shivam Mavi impressed the passionate Indian fans. With the highlight provided by the media along with the Indian fans support, the U-19 cricket has been on a whole new level.

The new India U-19 team is currently touring Sri Lanka to play 5 ODIs and 2 Test matches. The first Test match saw India crush Sri Lanka U-19 by an innings and 21 runs. Again, it was an all-around performance by team India. Atharv Taide, Anuj Rawat (c), Nehal Wadhera, Harsh Tyagi, and Mohit Jangra were super-impressive, but one young man stood out with his exquisite all-around performance- Ayush Badoni.

The 18-year old Delhi lad outclassed the Sri Lankan bowling as well as batting attack. Badoni put up a clinical off-spin performance and flummoxed Sri Lankan batsmen with his sharp right-arm off-break style of bowling. His bowling figures in the 1st innings were 9.3-2-24-4. His control over the ball stood out the most.

At only 18 years of age, he displayed a matured temperament and strategic superiority in his bowling. He perfectly complimented the fellow spinner Harsh Tyagi who broke the top and middle order. They hunted as a duo. It was really special to see this level of maturity in the U-19 players. In the 2nd innings of Sri Lanka, Badoni scalped 2 wickets.

When it came to the blade, Badoni wrecked havoc again whilst batting at the no. 7 position. After superb batting performances of Atharv, Nehal and Anuj, Badoni stole the show with an excellent innings of 185 runs in 205 deliveries. He hit 19 boundaries and 4 sixes which speak volumes about his abilities to deliver the goods in the middle order in shorter formats of the game as well.

The key attributes about his batting performance were the same that he had reflected with the ball- Maturity, balance, strategic approach and ability to read the game well. He looked quite smooth in both situations- when he had a bat to hold or a ball to bowl. However, this is not the first time he has prove his mettle.

Under the captaincy of Prithvi Shaw, he registered a crucial 54 for India Red against India Blue in the U-19 Challengers trophy last year. In the 2017-18 Vinoo Mankad Trophy U-19 Inter-zonal tournament, playing for the North Zone, he played a superb innings of 72 against the South Zone whilst batting at the no. 5 position. He delivered again by hammering 88 and 72 against the Central Zone and the East Zone respectively.

He has delivered both in the middle order as well as in the lower order and has proven his worth as a batsman who can stitch crucial partnerships, and at the same time, score quick runs for his team.

He has done well in various U-16 and U-19 tournaments in his domestic career so far. He was one of the 25 participants selected by the National Cricket Academy in 2016 to train and be groomed into a fine cricketer. So far, he has managed to live up to the expectations. It will be interesting to show he shapes up his game in the future.

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