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ICC U-19 World Cup: Prithvi Shaw-led India aim for record 4th title

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first_imgThe ICC U-19 World Cup is considered to be the stepping stone to conquer the world of cricket going forward and the young Indian side under the watchful eyes of Rahul Dravid will look to leave a lasting impression.India have won the cup three times in 2000, 2008 and 2012. Two of the captains have gone onto represent India and earn laurels for their country while the third one remains one of the brightest cricketers around. In 2000, Mohammad Kaif led India to a victory while Virat Kohli and Unmukt Chand captained their young squads with panache to lift the cup in 2008 and 2012 respectively.This time around, the responsibility will be on the bright and able shoulders of Prithvi Shaw, who has already made the world take notice of him with some sparkling performances for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy.India, drafted in Group B, along with Australia, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe, will open their campaign against the Aussies on January 14 at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.WATCHShaw, Shubman Gill, Ishan Porel will draw inspiration from the likes Kohli, Steve Smith — the most modern-day greats, who learnt the ropes in the biennial event, which has gained significance with every passing edition.However, the pressure on them will be comparatively more as the coverage these days is way more than what it used to be in the times of Kaif, Kohli and Chand. But on the flip side, their performances will be there to be seen by millions of people around the world and a good show can make them stars in no time.advertisementPrithvi Shaw has been breaking records for fun as a youngster, and will be looking to be one of the #FutureStars at the Under 19 @cricketworldcup #U19CWC pic.twitter.com/CnE1kFgAUb— ICC (@ICC) January 5, 2018With the IPL auction around the corner, the kids will look to give a good performance and hope that they get a contract and play in one of the biggest competitions in the game. And the January 13 to February 3 event will allow them to make a case for themselves.The event begins with Pakistan taking on Afghanistan, and hosts New Zealand facing reigning champions West Indies.The tournament’s stature has risen to such an extent that a great like Rahul Dravid, the current India U-19 coach, would love to have been part of it back in the day.”We never played this tournament in my day. After 1988 they didn’t hold the tournament for 10 years, so I’ve no exposure of playing and being part of this tournament. I tell a lot of these boys that I think it’s a terrific opportunity for them to be a part of this tournament,” Dravid had said in the lead up to the event.Countless number of U-19 players have gone on to represent their countries at the highest level. Each edition unearths oodles of talent and makes them overnight stars, be it Rishabh Pant or Alzaari Joseph from the previous edition in 2016 when three-time champions India lost the final to the West Indies.This edition too has created high expectations with a selected bunch already proving themselves at the first-class level.The likes of India captain Shaw, Gill, Australia captain Jason Sangha, Pakistan pacer Shaheen Afridi, Afghanistan batting sensation Baheer Shah, they all go into the event after making a mark on the domestic circuit back home.Shaw, Gill, Sangha and Shah already have a first-class hundred to their name while left-arm pacer Afridi hogged the limelight by taking eight for 39 in the Quad-e-Azam Trophy, the best figures by a Pakistani on first-class debut.The sensational performances of Baheer Shah too has created a buzz. The 17-year-old averages a staggering 121.77 in his seven-match first-class career, beating even the legendary Donald Bradman (95.14).He has the highest average in the list of players with at least 1000 first-class runs, leaving behind not just Bradman but also Vijay Merchant (71.64) and George Headley (69.86).The exploits of India captain and opener Shaw too are well-documented. After grabbing headlines with his performance in junior cricket, Shaw has graduated to the higher-level so seamlessly that he always belonged there. Therefore, it was not a surprise that he hit a match-winning hundred on Ranji Trophy debut 12 months ago.Adding to the tournament flavor will be the sons of Steve Waugh and Makhya Ntini Austin and Thando who will be turning up for Australia and South African respectively.Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland’s son Will is also in the national squad.With the IPL auction round the corner, there is every possibility that a millionaire could from the U-19 World Cup, just like Pant had a bagged Rs 1.9 crore deal with Delhi Daredevils after his stellar showing in Bangladesh.advertisementThe 22-day tournament, featuring 16 teams and being played across seven venues in the cities of Christchurch, Queenstown, Tauranga and Whangarei, will see 20 matches being broadcast live.(With inputs from PTI)ALSO WATCH:last_img read more