India U19 cricket team has taken the ICC U19 World Cup by storm as the Indian star players; Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Ishan Porel, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, etc, are putting excellent cricket on display, something which seems years out of the junior cricketers’ reach. While these young Indian lads have not left a single cricket guru who is not impressed, Sourav Ganguly has taken special interest in analysing their future and deciding on who is better than whom.
Due to the cricketing prowess displayed by these handful of U19 star cricketers, even the Indian Premier League was shaken, which resulted in the IPL franchises sign some of the top players in the 2018 IPL player auction. The youngsters had become the cynosure of all eyes, especially Indian cricketing legend Sourav Ganguly, after pulling off a massive 203-run win over their arch-rivals Pakistan in the ongoing ICC U19 World Cup Tournament.
With the win, the U19 stars led their team to the ICC U19 World Cup final against Australia, which will take place on Saturday. Indian U19 cricket team have already won three ICC U19 World Cup Trophies, and are on the verge of winning a record fourth trophy.
After India U19 vice-captain and batsman Shubman Gill slammed a 94-ball 102 in the semi-final against Pakistan, he attracted unscalable attention from all corners of the world. Apart from becoming the third-fastest U19 Indian century scorer and the costliest U19 cricketer to be sold at the IPL 2018 auction, Shubman Gill also eclipsed the seemingly brilliant achievements of the U19 India captain, Prithvi Shaw, who has been drawing parallels with the greatest of all time, Sachin Tendulkar.
Shubman Gill or Prithvi Shaw?
Gill’s unbeaten century helped India set up a 272-run target for Pakistan, while bowler Ishan Porel dismantled Pakistan’s top batting order, to wrap the green team in 69 runs. Watching Shubman Gill thrash Pakistan bowlers ruthlessly, Sourav Ganguly decided to arrive at a conclusion as to which U19 performer was better than the other, as he claimed that although Prithvi Shaw was a cricket prodigy, Shubman Gill was even better.
Opting to bat first, U19 opening batsman and captain Prithvi Shaw, along with Manjot Kalra, added an 89-run partnership to nullify the Pakistan bowling efforts. After Prithvi Shaw was dismissed scoring 41 runs, vice-captain of India U19, Shubman Gill, stepped on the crease and overpowered the opposition completely.
Apart from scoring an excellent first-class century, Gill ended up recording 50 plus scores in six consecutive innings, becoming the first cricketer in Youth ODI history to achieve the feat. Comparing the two finest batsmen of the India U19 cricket team, Sourav Ganguly told India Today,
“I actually feel Shubman Gill is a better player than Prithvi Shaw. I feel he is the best player in this team. He is a bit like Brian Lara and Kane Williamson. Even Ishan Porel who plays for Bengal, created havoc with the new ball. He was injured at the start of the tournament and couldn’t play for a week. It’s great to see him back, get fit and come and bowl so well. They are special these kids.”
The former cricketer also lauded the other team members, especially the bowlers, and also opined on their future.
“Not just Pakistan, every team has been decimated like this. Look at those two fast bowlers – Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti – bowling at over 140 at the age of 17-18. Anukul Roy of Assam has got a huge future, left-arm spinner Abhishek Sharma is also fantastic.”
“Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw then there is the wicketkeeper Harvik Desai, these guys look much above the rest. It’s also a direction for future that most of these boys will go on and play the top level in a few years time. The difference between India and the rest of the sides has been too much in this tournament.”
Sourav Ganguly was confident that the India U19 Cricket Team had virtually full chances to win the ICC U19 World Cup final against Australia,
“The first match India beat Australia by 100 runs and they are playing again in the final. If India does not have a poor day then it is going to be a one-sided final again. I will be really surprised if anything wrong happens in the final. It will be very hard for Australia to beat India.”
India U19 cricketers who were bagged by IPL teams in 2018 IPL auction
Kamlesh Nagarkoti – He was brought by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for a INR 3.2 crores. The young pacer’s strength is that he consistently bowls at speeds of over 140.
Shubman Gill – The India U19 vice-captain was bagged by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for INR 1.80 crore. Gill is the leading run-scorer for India in the U19 World Cup.
Prithvi Shaw – India’s U19 skipper was signed by Delhi Daredevils (DD) for Rs 1.2 crore during the auction.
Shivam Mavi – The Delhi pacer was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for INR 3 crore.
Anukul Roy – Anukul Roy was rewarded for his performance in the ongoing Under-19 World Cup, when was also snapped up by Mumbai Indians (MI) at his base price of Rs 20 lakh