LONDON: Cricket royalty Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Steve Smith, David Warner, Joe Root, Shoaib Malik and Chris Gayle are just a few of the names to cut their teeth at the ICC Under-19 World Cup before going on to enjoy stardom at the elite level. BRENDON EGAN looks at five players to watch at the 2018 version, starting on Saturday.
ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup
As the son of former Australian captain and batting great Steve Waugh, the 18-year-old allrounder has dealt with the weight of expectation for much of his life. A right-hand batsman and right-arm medium pacer, just like his dad, Waugh will be an important contributor with bat and ball. He has yet to play for New South Wales, but performed strongly for NSW Metro as they won the under-19 one-day title in December. Waugh took 2-37 and pulled off a sharp run out in the final against the Cricket Australia XI.
Prithvi Shaw (India)
No cricketer will attract more fanfare at this tournament than Indian captain Shaw, a right-hand batsman, who has already played Ranji Trophy domestic cricket. Shaw drew global headlines in November 2013, hitting the then-highest score by any batsman in any organised form of cricket since 1901, notching a whopping 546 in a Harris Shield interschool match in Mumbai. Shaw scored a first-class century on debut for Mumbai last year, a feat he repeated in the Duleep Trophy, a rare achievement retired Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar also achieved.
Shaheen Afridi (Pakistan)
Left-arm quick Afridi made quite the introduction to domestic cricket. He snared 8-39 during the second innings on debut for Khan Research Labs against Rawalpindi in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in September 2017, the best figures by a Pakistani bowler on first-class debut. Afridi is the youngest of seven brothers with sibling, Riaz Afridi, playing a solitary test against Sri Lanka in 2004.
Harry Brook (England)
Captain and top order batsman Brook could be just the man to bring some positivity back to English cricket following the embarrassment in The Ashes. The right-hander is highly rated having made his first-class debut for Yorkshire in 2016 against Pakistan A, while still at high school. He has played five first-class matches and one List A match already for his county, despite only being 18. Brook showed his class with a century in a warm-up match against Ireland this week and also hit 91 and 63 not out against the South Africa under-19s in December. Will provide England with some handy overs with his right-arm medium pace.
Rachin Ravindra (New Zealand)
Wellington’s Ravindra is one of four New Zealand players to return from the last ICC Under-19 World Cup in 2016. New Zealand performed poorly at the tournament, finishing 12th, but Ravindra was a shining light. The left-arm spinner was the side’s joint top wicket taker with seven scalps at 29.85 from five matches. He is a talented opening batsman, scoring heavily during his time at Hutt International Boys’ School. Ravindra’s role model growing up was retired Indian batting whiz Tendulkar. “I have modelled my game on him since I was very young,” he told Stuff in a 2016 interview.
- Group A: New Zealand, South Africa, West Indies, Kenya.
- Group B: Australia, India, Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea.
- Group C: England, Bangladesh, Namibia, Canada.
- Group D: Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Ireland.
Australia v India, Jan 14 at Mt Maunganui.
Traditional cricket powerhouses Australia and India meet in their first match in a clash, which will likely decide who finishes top of Group B.
Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Jan 19 at Whangarei.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s age-group stuff or the elite ranks, limited overs matches between Pakistan and Sri Lanka are always fiercely fought and this promises to not be any different.
New Zealand v South Africa, Jan 20 at Mt Maunganui.
With reigning Under-19 World Cup champions, the West Indies, also in the group, this showdown will have plenty riding on it. It will almost certainly determine who finishes top of the pool, or who advances onto the Super League last eight phase, should the Windies rack up some early victories.
Super League quarterfinals:
- Jan 23: C1 v B2 at Lincoln.
- Jan 24: D1 v A2 at Christchurch.
- Jan 25: A1 v D2 at Chch.
- Jan 26: B1 v C2 at Queenstown.
- Super League semifinals:
- Jan 29: at Chch.
- Jan 30: at Chch.
Final: February 3: at Mt Maunganui.
- 2016: West Indies
- 2014: South Africa
- 2012: India
- 2010: Australia
- 2008: India
- 2006: Pakistan