Raj Bawa ended the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup as one of the leading allrounders at the tournament and Player of the Match in the final itself.
Bawa was one of just eight batters to pass 250 runs at the tournament, while he also picked up nine wickets in the campaign.
An enormous unbeaten 162* against Uganda was as good an innings as any at the tournament.
But such was the quality of India’s batting line-up through the knockout stages he wasn’t needed much more than that, with his handy 35 in the final helping make the run-chase against England comfortable.
Bawa has all the tools in his armoury, and it is encouraging for his future prospects that his nine wickets all came against high-quality opposition.
South Africa were expected to be the biggest threat in the group stage, and Bawa’s 4/47 in that match played a significant part in India’s win.
And his five-wicket haul in the U19 World Cup final was the first time any Indian player has achieved that feat in eight matches.
To put Bawa’s brilliance into perspective, only one India U19 player in history had previously taken a five-for and hit a score in excess of 150 at any ICC event, and that player was the legendary ICC Cricket Hall of Fame inductee Kapil Dev.
RAJ BAWA’S WORLD CUP NUMBERS
- 13 and 4/47 vs South Africa
- 42 and 0/24 vs Ireland
- 162* and 0/12 vs Uganda
- 0 and 0/16 vs Bangladesh
- 0/20 vs Australia
- 35 and 5/31 vs England
WHAT THEY SAID
Niall O’Brien: “I think he’s an absolute cracker, his unbeaten 150-odd against Uganda was top class.
“You come out of India to these tournaments and there’s so much hype around you. People say he plays a lot like Shikhar Dhawan.
“I think this Bawa is a batter, but he’s also a very good bowler. So I think he’s someone who’s going to play for India in the very near future.
“He’s a very good player on the leg side, loves a pick-up pull shot, clean striker, good hitter of the ball, and he can bowl… and I love left-handers.”
Alan Wilkins: “It’s hard to look past Raj Bawa. He’s got all the shots, he looks in command, nothing worries him or seems to ruffle his feathers.
“He plays the ball into gaps, he knows where they are, he’s almost like a draftsman, an architect, he knows where they are and pierces gaps and creates this lovely mosaic.”
RAJ BAWA IN HIS OWN WORDS
“My father is my coach. Everything I’ve learnt in cricket is down to him. He’s been a major influence on my development.
“My father told me this long ago, he said that ‘being a good human being is more important than being a good cricketer’. I have always kept that in mind.
“He trained Yuvraj Singh. I used to watch him when I was a kid, and used to emulate him while batting. I watched him when he used to play, his batting videos, he’s like my role model.
“I like batting, because in batting it’s two against 11. I like the pressure of the competition and the responsibility to perform for the team.
“As an all-rounder I like to contribute to the team’s victory in any way possible, whether that’s batting, bowling, fielding. I love playing cricket.
“Our team performs like a well-knit unit. Nobody plays for individual goals. Everybody’s playing as a team, so it is our strength.”
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