Priyam Garg to lead squad

Priyam Garg will lead India’s quest to defend the Under-19 World Cup after he was named team captain for the biennial cricket tournament, to be played in South Africa from January 17 to February 9.

The squad was announced on Monday, a day after the national junior selection committee — headed by Aashish Kapoor — met at the BCCI headquarters here with Rahul Dravid — the head of cricket at the National Cricket Academy — as a special invitee.

Garg’s group will hope to repeat the feat of Prithvi Shaw’s smashers who conquered the junior World Cup with Dravid as coach early in 2018. Garg will have UP team-mate Dhruv Chand Jurel as his deputy. Kartik Tyagi will complete the UP triumvirate in the squad of 15.

Besides UP, Mumbai will also have three of its promising cricketers in the squad. Yashasvi Jaiswal, who became the youngest double-centurion in senior List A cricket in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, will hope to carry his sensational run in South Africa. Atharva Ankolekar, the left-arm spinner who was the star of India’s U-19 Asia Cup triumph, and batsman Divyaansh Saxena, from the stables of Dilip Vengsarkar Foundation, will hope to play the supporting role.

Interesting tale

The squad, which sees representation from eight associations, also includes Divyansh Joshi, who has an interesting tale. The all-rounder who is from Greater Noida in UP and studies in Dehradun in Uttarakhand was first spotted while batting for Mizoram in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy. He will be hoping to kick-start the cricket revolution in Mizoram despite being one of the three guest players in the north-eastern state’s under-19 team.

The India Under-19 squad couldn’t have asked for a better preparation than a bilateral series against South Africa and a quadrangular series featuring South Africa, Zimbabwe and New Zealand’s Under-19 teams in South Africa just ahead of the tournament. Hyderabad’s C.T.L. Rakshan will travel with the squad for the pre-tournament assignments.

The squad: Priyam Garg (captain), Dhruv Chand Jurel (vice-captain & wicket-keeper), Kartik Tyagi (all UP), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Atharva Ankolekar, Divyaansh Saxena (Mumbai), Tilak Varma (Hyderabad), Shashwat Rawat (Baroda), Divyansh Joshi (Mizoram), Shubhang Hegde, Vidyadhar Patil (both Karnataka), Ravi Bishnoi, Akash Singh (both Rajasthan), Kumar Kushagra (wicket-keeper), Sushant Mishra (both Jharkhand).

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