U19 Cricket World Cup 2024: Star key players Watch out before U19 Cricket Tournament: To build a high-level future, one has to make a beginning in every field.
The same rule applies in the world of cricket, if players want to play in an international tournament for their country then it is also a gateway to their future, with the U19 Cricket World Cup seeing many players go on to enjoy fruitful senior international careers.
As the Under-19 World Cup 2024 kicks off with the tournament starting on January 16, we will be taking a look at several star players who performed at the Under-19 World Cup in South Africa.
U19 Cricket World Cup 2024: Group A
They were comfortable winners of the series, with Uday Saharan top-scoring in the final with 112 against the Proteas. Saharan was also the top scorer in his official warm-up against Australia (74).
Arshi Kulkarni led the team in runs in the Asia Cup, while Raj Limbani surprised everyone with 7/13 (9.1) against Nepal in the ACC U19 Asia Cup. Vice captain Soumya Pandey led the team in wickets during the tri-series and also took 6 wickets for 29 runs against Afghanistan.
Given the rapid transition of many players to success from U19 to senior caps in recent years, India’s best performance in South Africa could soon propel the players to higher honors.
India: Arshin Kulkarni, Soumya Kumar Pandey (VC), Murugan Abhishek, Inesh Mahajan (wk), Dhanush Gowda, Aaradhya Shukla, Raj Limbani and Naman Tiwari, Adarsh Singh, Rudra Mayur Patel, Sachin Dhas, Priyanshu Molia, Musheer Khan, Uday Saharan (captain), Aravelli Avnish Rao (wk).
Ashikur Rahman Shibli was a star in the ACC U19 Asia Cup, easily top scorer in the tournament with 378 runs at an average of 126, hitting two centuries and two half-centuries and taking home the trophy.
Ashikur scored 129 (149) in the final against UAE, and Sri Lanka will probably be grateful that they avoided him in the group stage and Super Six after his unbeaten 116* in the same tournament.
Left-arm fast bowler Maroof Mridha has arguably been the most consistent fast bowler, taking nine wickets in the last three matches of the successful campaign, including 4/41 in a player of the match performance against India.
Bangladesh: Mahfuzur Rahman Rabbi (captain), Ashikur Rahman Shibli, Zishan Alam, Choudhary Mohammad Rizwan, Adil Bin Siddiq, Mohammad Ashrafuzzaman Borano, Ariful Islam, Shihab James, Ahrar Amin (vice-captain), Sheikh Parvez Jibon, Rafi Uzzaman Rafi, Rohnat. Doula Borsan, Iqbal Hassan Emon, Wasi Siddiqui, Maroof Mridha
Captain Rishi Ramesh has been praised by American observers for his high energy and high self-confidence, and he was an obvious choice to lead the team in South Africa.
Batsman Utkarsh Srivastava will likely be a key figure in the batting side and is capable of batting up and down the order, and he showed in his 2023 minor league season with the Morrisville Raptors that he is capable as a finger-spinner when deployed. Srivastava has also been appointed to follow the success of recent senior team graduate Sai Mukkamalla.
Seamer Atendra Subramaniam comes into the tournament as the most experienced from a senior perspective, having played three seasons of minor league cricket, and doesn’t look out of place amid an attack of respected senior players. Look for him to bowl most of his overs in the powerplay or at the backend.
USA: Amogh Arepalli, Manav Nayak, Parth Patel, Rishi Ramesh (captain), Utkarsh Srivastava (vice-captain), Atendra Subramaniam. Aryaman Suri. Reserve: Arjun Mahesh, Ansh Rai, Aryan Satish, Ryan Bhagani, Aryan Batra, Khush Bhalala, Pranav Chettipalayam, Arya Garg, Siddharth Kappa, Bhavya Mehta, Arin Nadkarni.
In addition to the win against Zimbabwe at the start of the tournament, Philippe Le Roux’s men also claimed a maiden ODI win against England in August, in which they comfortably defended 333 and restricted their opponents to 261.
All-rounder Scott McBeth turned the match around by scoring 90* off 48 balls with the help of Gavin Roulston’s 73 and Jordan Neal’s 77. Roulston also scored 81 in the first match against Zimbabwe, while Daniel Forkin took 4/53. 3/64 against the British.
Ireland: Philippe Le Roux (captain), John McNally, Jordan Neal, Oliver Riley, Gavin Roulston, Matthew Wheldon, Reuben Wilson. . Non-traveling reserves: Adam Leckie, Hayden Mellie, James West, McDarrah Cosgrave, Harry Dyer, Daniel Forkin, Kian Hilton, Ryan Hunter, Finn Luton, Scott McBeth, Carson McCullough.
U19 Cricket World Cup 2024: Group B
Left-arm fast bowler Kwena Mphaka has started his cricket journey not only for the U19s, but also for the South Africa Emerging team (a team he has also captained), which plays in provincial division two cricket.
Mafaka, who often takes the new ball, played in the last U19 World Cup as a 15-year-old and is in good form for the upcoming edition, taking five wickets in their preparation tri-series match against Afghanistan.
Batsman Steve Stokes was also excellent in the U19 tri-series, which also included India, scoring 180 runs at an average of 45 and an astonishing strike rate of 134. Stoke hit 10 sixes in his first four innings in the series. Also keep an eye on right-arm fast bowler Nqobani Mokoena who can also add important runs lower down the order.
South Africa: David Teiger, Martin Khumalo, Kwena Mafaka, Dewan Marias, Riley Norton, Nqobani Mokoena, Romashan Pillay, Sipho Potsane, Luan-Dre Pretorius, Richard Sletsane, Oliver Whitehead, Steve Stokes, Ntando Zuma, Esosa Aihevba, Juan James.
In addition to traveling on several youth tours, several members of the England team have signed professional county contracts and are arguably the most reliable.
Captain Ben McKinney, out for Durham, scored 129 runs in four innings in the recent home youth ODI series against Australia, while Warwickshire’s Hamza Sheikh leads the run tally in the same series (235 at 47).
Bowler Eddie Jack has put in a number of performances on the youth tour, the most notable being a five-wicket haul against Bangladesh, and Jayden Denly should contribute with both bat and ball.
Vice-captain Luke Benkentin, who plays professional cricket like his father Dale and grandpa Martin did, has also been selected for the inaugural Pakistan Junior League in 2022 squad due to his Gwadar Sharks work.
Luke is an all-rounder who can spin his legs; in a one-day encounter against Glamorgan, he took 6 for 42. His Essex counterpart Charlie Ellison, who has two List A fifty under his belt, is accompanied at the county by all-rounder Noah Than.
England: Ben McKinney (captain), Tazeem Ali, Charlie Allison, Charlie Bernard, Jack Carney, Jaden Denly, Eddie Jack, Dominic Kelly, Sebastian Morgan, Hayden Mustard, Hamza Sheikh, Noah Thain, and Theo Wylie, Luke Benkenstein (vice-captain), Farhan Ahmed.
Batsman Jamie Dunk was exceptional in the Europe Qualifier, finishing clear as the top run-scorer with 244 runs at 85. He was followed by off-spinning all-rounder Alec Price (208 at 69.33) who made the best contribution in the match. 82 runs against the Dutch. Price can also contribute with the ball, as his 4/29 (10) against Jersey in the same tournament showed.
One of the stories of the tournament will be the highly touted 18-year-old batsman Bahadar Esakhil, who is considered one of the best fielders of the group.
Esakheel arrived in Scotland from Afghanistan in 2016 and took up the sport seriously in 2018 on the encouragement of friends in his new home.
The Ferguslie right-hander, who scored a century at U17 level against Ireland, is set to score more than 400 runs in the Western Premiership in the 2023 season. Fergusli’s teammates batsman Uzair Ahmed and spinner Qasim Khan are also expected to impress.
Scotland: Owen Gould (captain), Harry Armstrong, Logan Briggs, Jamie Dunk, Bahadur Esakheel, Ibrahim Faisal, Rory Grant, Adi Hegde, McKenzie Jones, Farhan Khan, Qasim Khan, Nikhil Koteswaran, Ruaridh McIntyre, Alec Price, Uzair Ahmed.
Participating in the 2022 tournament at the age of 16, Jamaican batsman Jordan Johnson returned to make his List A and first-class debuts for the West Indies A team against South Africa A later in December.
Barbados wicketkeeper-batsman Jewel Andrew has scored plenty on the youth tour of Sri Lanka, while fast bowler Isai Thorne was a handful for Ireland’s Emerging Group, taking 12 wickets in two first-class matches for the West Indies Academy.
Vice-captain Nathan Seely has also been tipped as a future senior international, primarily a left-arm spinner, but his batting is also expected to improve.
West Indies: Stephen Pascal (captain), Ryan Edwards, Deshaun James, Jordan Johnson, Devonny Joseph, Raneiko Smith, Isai Thorne, Steve Wedderburn, Adrian Weir, Nathan Seely (vice-captain), Jewel Andrew, Mavendra Dindyal, Joshua Dorn, Nathan Edwards, Tariq Edwards.
U19 Cricket World Cup 2024: Group C
Sutherland product Sam Konstas, long known for his success, has won the hearts of many admirers, notably former Test spinner and commentator Kerry O’Keeffe, and the 18-year-old has earned a senior first-class call-up to New South Wales.
Constas scored an unbeaten century in the U19 one-day match against England on their August UK tour, with the tourists claiming 50-over and four-day series wins.
When Australia took on England in a five-match Youth ODI series, Raft McMillan was the leading wicket-taker (10), while Harjas Singh was aggressive with the bat, scoring 139 runs at a strike rate of 124 and an average of 46.33.
Mahali Beardman has domestic List A experience for Western Australia, while there are big revelations on Harry Dixon, who has a Big Bash League contract with the Melbourne Renegades and has enjoyed the red ball leg of the UK tour.
Australia: Lachlan Aitken, Mahali Beardman, Tom Campbell, Harry Dixon, Ryan Hicks, Sam Konstas, Raphael McMillan, Aidan O’Connor, Harjas Singh, Tom Straker, Callum Vidler, Corey Wasley, Hugh Wiebgen, Charlie Anderson, Harkirat Bajwa.
With several team members in the running for the senior team and several players thriving in domestic cricket, Namibia should enjoy familiar South African conditions. Captain Alexander Voloshenko, among others, plays and goes to school south of the border.
Jack Brassell grabbed the headlines with astonishing figures of 7/9 on his home 50-over debut, which also included the wickets of senior internationals Stephen Bard and Jan Nicol Lofty-Eaton.
Brassel has also moved to England to further his cricket development, although he aspires to represent the senior team.
Gerhard Janse van Rensburg has represented Namibia in unofficial internationals against Uganda, with Rudi’s son Zacho van Vuuren appearing for Namibia at both the 2003 Cricket and Rugby World Cups. Zacho is a strong all-rounder who, like his father, bowls seam for the country.
Namibia: Alex Wolschenk (captain), JW Visagie, Ben Brassell, Jack Brassell, Henry Van Wyk, Zacko Van Vuuren, Nico Pieters, Faf du Plessis, Wouty Niehaus, PD Blignaut, Henry Badenhorst, Jr. Kariata, Ryan Moffett, Gerhard Janse van Rensburg, Hansie de Villiers.
Sri Lanka have earned a place in the tournament by hosting the West Indies and participating in the ACC U19 Asia Cup, and are led by Sineth Jayawardene, a talented batting all-rounder who should bat at No. 3.
Jayawardene will be aiming to convert starts into big scores, as will Dinura Kalupahana, who has scored half-centuries against Pakistan and UAE.
On the bowling side, Malsha Tharupathy is highly regarded for her leg-spin and has taken 12 wickets in her last five U19 ODIs, and has almost 30 senior domestic white-ball wickets to her name in just 20 matches. Garuka Sanket and Supun Waduge should also enjoy strong tournaments.
Sri Lanka: Sineth Jayawardene (captain), Malsha Tharupathy, Vishwa Lahiru, Garuka Sanketh, Duvindu Ranatunga, Ruvishan Perera, Supun Waduge, Vihas Thevmika, Vishen Halambage. Travel Reserve: Dinuka Tennakoon, Hiran Jayasundara, Pulindu Perera, Hirun Kapurubandara, Ravishan Nethsara, Rusanda Gamage, Sharujan Shanmuganathan, Dinura Kalupahana.
The young Chevron have stepped up their preparations for the tournament with two matches against Ireland, they will face the same opponents in the official warm-up on January 14.
The Matthew Schonken-led side successfully defended 236 runs in the first match, however fell 17 runs short of Ireland’s 265 in the second match.
Leg spinner Schonken and Newman Nyamauri, who turned 18 on the first day of the tournament, took five wickets each in both the matches. Ryan Kamwemba, who can also keep wickets, scored 103 runs from 112 balls in the second match.
Zimbabwe: Nathaniel Hlabangana, Anesu Kamuriwo, Newman Nyamhuri, Mashford Shungu, Kohl Eckstein, Panashe Gwatiringa, Shaun Djakatira, Munashe Chimusoro, Panashe Taruvinga, Ronak Patel, Campbell McMillan, Ryan Kamwemba, Brendon Sunguro, Calton Takawira, Matthew Schonken (captain).
U19 Cricket World Cup 2024: Group D
There is a huge responsibility on the shoulders of 17-year-old Saad Baig, who not only leads Pakistan in the tournament but also bats at No. 4 in the order.
Baig has scored three half-centuries in his last four innings for the team, and will be looking to enjoy the responsibility at crucial moments. Fast bowler Mohammad Zeeshan should be included prominently after being a traveling reserve two years ago.
Meanwhile, Naseem Shah’s brother Ubaid Shah will try to make a name for himself in the international game. A fast bowler, Ubaid has a somewhat long action, and is capable of hitting yorker lengths when required.
Those who followed the Asian Games in October will also recognize Arafat Minhas, who featured three times in Pakistan’s Hangzhou campaign.
Pakistan: Saad Baig (captain and wicketkeeper), Khubaib Khalil, Mohammad Zeeshan, Naveed Ahmed Khan, Shahzeb Khan, Shameel. Hussain. Muhammad Riazullah and Ubaid Shah, Ali Asfand (vice-captain), Ali Raza, Ahmed Hasan, Amir Hasan, Arfat Minhas, Azan Awais, Haroon Arshad
Having gone through regional qualification for this year’s tournament, New Zealand’s path to South Africa passed through Darwin last June and topping the East Asia-Pacific tournament. Zac Cumming, son of former international Craig, played a key role with both bat and ball.
The family theme continues to see the rest of the team members. Matt Rowe is the cousin of current White Fern Hannah, and Tom Jones is the grandson of New Zealand great Jeremy Cooney. Jones scored the highest score in the East Asia-Pacific Qualifier (283 runs at 70.75).
New Zealand: Oscar Jackson (captain), Rahman Hekmat, Tom Jones, James Nelson, Sneith Reddy, Matt Rowe, Ewald Schrader, Lachlan Stackpole, Oliver Tewatia, Alex Thompson, Ryan Tsorgas, Luke Watson., Mason Clarke, Sam Clode, Zac Cumming
Reserves Players: Robbie Foulkes, Josh Oliver, Amogh Paranjape, Ben Breitmeyer, Nick Brown, Henry Christie.
Fans will recognize captain Dev Khanal and Gulshan Jha by their presence for the Nepali senior team, however there is reason to be excited about several other players in the squad who are ready to make a mark and knock on the door of senior selection.
Arjun Kumal has played several innings in practice games and the ACC U19 Asia Cup, while Durgesh Gupta is a left-arm fast bowler who has impressed in junior domestic cricket.
Nepal: Dev Khanal (captain), Subhash Bhandari, Deepak Bohra, Deepak Bohra, Uttam Rangu Thapa Machar, Bipin Rawal. Tilak Raj Bhandari, Akash Chand, Arjun Kumal, Akash Tripathi, Deepak Prasad Dumre, Durgesh Gupta, Gulshan Kumar Jha, Deepesh Prasad Kandel, Bishal Bikram KC
Fans will be delighted that Afghanistan’s conveyor belt of spinners will continue for the 2024 edition, including 16-year-old Allah Mohammad Ghazanfar.
A tall off-spinner, Ghazanfar has drawn comparisons to Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and his name has appeared in the final auction lists of several T20 leagues. Hasan Khan Isakhil meanwhile follows the path to international cricket forged by a famous father: Mohammad Nabi.
Hasan is based in the UAE and is eligible to play senior cricket for the UAE or Afghanistan, with an international appearance alongside his father not outside the realm of possibility.
On the field, Hasan opens the batting and recently scored a half-century in the team’s preparatory tri-series match against India in Johannesburg.
Afghanistan: Naseer Khan (captain), Wafiullah Tarkhil, Khalid Taniwal, Ali Ahmed Nasar, Jamshed Zadran, Sohail Khan Jurmati, Rahimullah Jurmati, Allah Mohammad, Arab Gul Momand, Faridoon Dawoodzai, Bashir Ahmed, Khalil Ahmed, Zahid Afghan. Reserves: Waheedullah Zadran, Nasir Hasan, Usman Shinwari, Numan Shah (VC & wk), Hasan Isaakhil
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