The ICC Under-19 World Cup 2020 is here. Young guns from 16 nations will compete in South Africa to win the Youth World Cup title. The tournament is scheduled to start on the 17th of January and will go on for more than three weeks with the final to be played on the 9th of February.
There are quite a few players who will be closely watched. There are players with some domestic experience as well who have made a significant name for themselves in their respective nations. Thus, here, we look at one player from each team that will be keenly watched upon during this Under-19 World Cup.
India – Priyam Garg
The Indian captain Priyam Garg has been in fine form in the recent past. In fact, he has been playing domestic cricket for Uttar Pradesh since September 2018. He has a good domestic record across all three formats. In fact, he averages 66.69 in first-class cricket and 47.13 in List ‘A’ cricket. Garg has registered a couple of hundreds in both formats so far and has a decent strike-rate in T20 cricket too.
West Indies – Nyeem Young
Here is someone who can have an impact with both bat and ball. Nyeem Young bats at No. 7 and is a bank with the ball. He’s been good and consistent with the bat while he’s done well with the ball too. The Barbados-born cricketer had a wonderful season in the tri-series in the Caribbean. He will be one of the key players for West Indies.
Australia – Tanveer Sangha
Tanveer Sangha is the younger brother of former Australian Under-19 captain Jason Sangha who led his team to the final in the 2018 edition. The younger Sangha is a promising leg-spinner who has bowled well in recent times. He even made it to the Sydney Thunder squad in the Big Bash League (BBL) this season. He will lead Australia’s spin attack in this edition.
Pakistan – Mohammad Shehzad
In the past, Pakistan have a tendency of playing very young players and hence, the inclusion of Mohammad Shehzad isn’t a big surprise. The 14-year-old is a batting all-rounder. He bats at the top of the order and can bowl medium pace as well. Shehzad caught the selector’s attention in the Under-16 tournament in Pakistan where he amassed 175 runs and picked up six wickets in two games. Saleem Jaffar, Pakistan Under-19 team’s head coach linked Shehzad to Abdul Razzaq and thought the 14-year-old can play a similar role.
England – George Balderson
No other current England Under-19 bowler has more wickets than George Balderson in Youth ODIs. The Lancashire fast bowler has picked up 24 wickets from 12 games at an average of 17.41 and has a strike-rate of 21.7. Moreover, he can be handy with the bat lower down the order. Hence, he will be looking to lead the England side from the front and is likely to take the new ball as well.
Sri Lanka – Kamil Mishara
Kamil Mishara has been a consistent player at the top of the order for Sri Lanka Under-19. Even in the recent tri-series in the Caribbean, he was one player who consistently got starts in tough batting conditions. He scored 69 in the final of the tri-series as well. Moreover, Mishara is also tidy behind the stumps. He has a good record in Youth ODIs as he has amassed 792 runs from 22 games.
New Zealand – Adithya Ashok
Adithya Ashok is a promising leg-spinner who ended as Auckland’s leading wicket-taker in the national Under-19 tournament in New Zealand. Moreover, Ashok has done well for the New Zealand Under-19 side as well in the Youth ODIs. The Indian origin spinner has picked up 14 wickets and has an economy of 4.79 in the 50-over Under-19 games.
Japan – Marcus Thurgate
This is the first time ever that Japan have qualified in any ICC global event. They have quite a young squad and most of them can play at least another Under-19 World Cup. Among those, there is Marcus Thurgate who has been a consistent member of the Japan side and the Japan Under-19 teams. He is one of the more experienced players in the side. Thurgate made 124 runs in the ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifier East Asia-Pacific Region last year.
South Africa – Gerald Coetzee
Gerald Coetzee is someone who can bowl at good pace and come in and tonk a few lower down the order. Coetzee also featured in the 2018 edition as well where he had a strike-rate of 205.88. He has a good record with the ball across formats in domestic cricket. Coetzee can crank up to 90 miles per hour. He has 10 wickets from five games and has also played a couple of games in the Mzansi Super League (MSL).
Canada – Rishiv Joshi
Rishiv Joshi is a left-arm fast bowler who can swing the new ball and is one among the four Canadians who played the 2018 edition as well. Joshi took four wickets in as many games in that tournament. Meanwhile, last year, ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifier Americas Region, he took five wickets at an average of 12.00.
Afghanistan – Noor Ahmad
Noor Ahmad recently made history when he entered the IPL auction this time. The Afghanistan chinaman bowler became the youngest player to ever feature in an IPL auction. He caught everybody’s attention through that despite going unsold. He has a very good record in Youth ODIs. Ahmad has taken 15 wickets at an average of 15.33 and has an economy of 3.97. He even played the Shpageeza Cricket League in October 2019 where he took eight wickets and went at 6.48 runs per over.
Zimbabwe – Wesley Madhevere
The 19-year-old Wesley Madhevere from Zimbabwe is a real veteran in Under-19 cricket. He has been playing Under-19 cricket since 2015 and has already played the 2016 and 2018 editions of the Under-19 World Cup. Madhevere had a phenomenal World Cup last time around in New Zealand. He was Zimbabwe’s most important player with both bat and ball. The off-spinning all-rounder scored 234 runs at an average of 46.80 and a strike-rate of 97.90. He even picked up 10 wickets at an average of 12.80. It was a complete all-round performance he has been in good form this time as well.
Bangladesh – Towhid Hridoy
Towhid Hridoy has been in fabulous form in the recent past. He can well be termed as an Under-19 veteran as he’s played for almost three years now and has amassed 1510 runs at an average of 50.33. He finished 2019 with an 82 not out and three back to back tons (123 not out, 115, 111) against Sri Lanka Under-19 to lead Bangladesh to a 4-0 win. Hridoy also has a good domestic white-ball record. The top-order batsman averages 45.29 while amassing 770 runs in List ‘A’ cricket.
Scotland – Tom Mackintosh
Tom Mackintosh is a 16-year-old wicket-keeper batsman who has been very impressive in his short career so far. In five Youth ODIs he played last year, Mackintosh was not only good with the bat but he also took five catches and affected five stumpings. The Madrid-born cricketer has scores of 91, 79, 47, 107 and 7 in the ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifier Europe Region.
UAE – Ansh Tandon
The last time UAE qualified for the Under-19 World Cup was back in the 2014 season. They had finished 12th that season. It is after six years they have come to the top once again in Youth ODIs. The form of Ansh Tandon has helped. The left-handed batsman has been in good form and also struck an unbeaten ton in the Under-19 Asia Cup. He even represented Northern Warriors in the Abu Dhabi T10 league. Tandon even has experience of training with the Mumbai Indians (MI) squad in 2018 after Robin Singh was highly impressed by his efforts.
Nigeria – Peter Aho
This is Nigeria’s first time in the Under-19 World Cup as well. Peter Aho has been representing the Nigerian Under-19 for quite some time now and has played the last couple of seasons. The fast bowler has been in very good form and has the knack of picking up wickets. He has picked up 22 wickets from his last 10 competitive games which includes a couple of five-wicket hauls over the course of one and a half year. He can be handy with the bat as well, lower down the order.