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6 players from India's U19 squad who are likely to be international stars in the future

Tin

Over the years, the ICC U19 World Cup has been a grooming ground for youngsters to make a name for themselves before they make their mark in international cricket. Indian stalwarts like Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli etc. had announced themselves at the tournament before they went on to become regulars at the highest level of the game.The upcoming U19 World Cup, which begins on January 27, will see the best young cricketing talent from across the world face up against each other. The Indian team, which is coached by former Indian batsman Rahul Dravid, are one of the favourites to win the tournament.Here are 5 Indian U19 cricketers who are likely to become stars for the Indian team in the future:

#6 Armaan Jaffer

Armaan Jaffer

While most of the players on this list have been playing regularly for the Indian U19 team over the last year, Armaan Jaffer was picked for the tournament based on his superlative performances in the U19 Cooch Behar Trophy where he struck three consecutive double hundreds, as well as four consecutive hundreds.

The nephew of former Indian opening batsman Wasim Jaffer, Armaan has been in the spotlight since he scored 498 for Rizvi Springfield School in 2010, a score which was the record for the highest individual score in Indian school cricket until Pranav Dhadawale broke it with an unbeaten 1009 just a couple of weeks ago.

The 17-year-old was also included in Mumbai’s list of probables for the Ranji Trophy this season and could make his first-class debut soon if he puts up an impressive performance at the ICC U19 World Cup in Bangladesh.

#5 Washington Sundar

Washington Sundar

Washington Sundar was marked out to be a special player very early on his career. At the tender age of 13, he made his debut in the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) first division league and has been destined for big things since.

Sundar, who is just 16 now and could even play the next U19 World Cup in 2018, is an opening batsman who has already shown that he is ready for this age-group. In the recent 50-over tri-series against the U19 teams of Sri Lanka and England, the Chennai-born lad was impressive, including scoring a half-century in the final.

The Madras Rubber Factory cricketer is also a useful bowler and his off-breaks could be vital for the Indian colts in Bangladesh.

#4 Avesh Khan

Avesh Khan

This list consists of mostly batsmen and that is surely not very heartening for an Indian cricket fan as India have produced great batsmen time and again, but it is the bowling that has been a problem for the Men in Blue. The fast bowling department, especially, has been a big worry.

A lot of Indian fast bowlers have promised a lot in their youth but faded away later. One hopes that Avesh Khan – India’s newest pace bowling hope – doesn’t fall into that category.

The Madhya Pradesh pacer made a name for himself when he registered figures of 4/4 in 6 overs in a recent U19 match against Bangladesh. He has already played first-class cricket for his state, picking up 15 wickets from the 5 matches he has played so far.

#3 Ricky Bhui

Ricky Bhui

Ricky Bhui made his first-class debut for Andhra at the age of 17 and hasn't looked back since. A right-handed batsman, Bhui smashed an unbeaten century on his List A debut and averages 158.50 in the format having played 7 innings so far.

The 19-year-old has as many as 13 first-class matches, which is quite impressive given his age. He is expected to be the mainstay of India’s middle-order at the U19 World Cup and recent performances have shown that he can be relied upon.

He was picked up by SunRisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction in 2014 but unfortunately, hasn’t played a single match in the cash-rich league yet.

#2 Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant

Naman Ojha, Sanju Samson, Robin Uthappa and Wriddhiman Saha are some of the names that have mentioned recently when one talks about MS Dhoni’s long-term replacement in the wicket-keeping department when the Indian limited overs captain decides to call it a day from the shorter formats of the game.

While the names above might have bigger pedigree at this moment, don’t be surprised if Rishabh Pant is in strong contention to make that spot in the Indian team his own. The young lad from Delhi has turned heads in the U19 cricketing scene recently and is surely destined for big things in the future.

Pant made his Ranji Trophy debut at the age of 18 and struck a half-century at a brisk pace in just his second first-class innings. The knock, which came against Bengal, saw him hit 57 from just 71 deliveries, during which he smashed 3 sixes.

A left-handed batsman, it’s no surprise that the 18-year-old’s idol is Adam Gilchrist.

#1 Sarfaraz Khan

Sarfaraz Khan

Sarfaraz Khan is a name that most cricket fans would have already heard of thanks to his exploits in last year’s Indian Premier League (IPL).

Playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), the Mumbai-born cricketer got very few opportunities to bat as he was playing alongside a top-heavy batting line-up, but made full use of whatever chance he got. He scored 111 runs at an impressive strike-rate of 156.33 for the Virat Kohli-led side.

Sarfaraz had come into the limelight when, at an age of 12, he struck a then-record score of 439 in the Harris Shield inter-school tournament. This will be his 2nd appearance at the U19 World Cup, having played in the 2014 edition as well.

He scored 211 runs at an average of 70.33 in the 2014 U-19 World Cup, which saw him being included in the team of the tournament. His best performance in that tournament came against Pakistan – scoring 74 and picking up figures of 1/10 in 3 overs with the ball – which earned him the Man of the Match award.

Edited by Staff Editor

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