Presenting the team of the 2018 Under 19 Cricket World Cup, as chosen by the official judging panel.
1. PRITHVI SHAW, India
Right-hand opening batsman
261 runs at 65.25, 2 fifties
Shaw came into this tournament with a big reputation following his record-breaking feats as a 14-year-old when he scored 546 in an innings in a schools tournament in Mumbai, and then hit five centuries in his first seven first-class matches. He lived up to that billing with a classy 94 in India’s first fixture against Australia, and then made an unbeaten 57 in a crushing win over Papua New Guinea.
His returns thereafter weren’t headline-grabbing – 40, 41 and 29 – but by captaining his country to the U19 CWC title he has emulated Virat Kohli – managing 26 more runs than Kohli did when his team won the competition in 2008 – and the target now is to keep following in the senior skipper’s footsteps. At just 18 years of age, there is already a touch of celebrity about Prithvi Shaw.
2. MANJOT KALRA, India
Left-hand opening batsman
252 runs at 84, 1 hundred, 1 fifty
Kalra played second fiddle to his opening partner for much of the tournament but when the big day came, he was the one who stole the headlines, batting superbly to become the fifth batsman to score a century in the final of an Under 19 Cricket World Cup.
The 19-year-old southpaw took a liking to the Australians, scoring 86 against them in India's first match of the tournament before notching three figures in the showpiece final. Innings like the one he played to help his country lift the trophy don't get forgotten in a hurry, and Kalra and Prithvi Shaw could well be opening up at senior level together in the years to come.
3. SHUBMAN GILL, India
Right-hand top-order batsman
372 runs at 124, 1 hundred, 3 fifties
The judging panel declared Gill to be a unanimous choice as Player of the Tournament, and looking at his record, and the manner in which he scored his runs, it’s easy to see why. So impressed was the former England batsman Rob Key, who has been part of the commentary team in New Zealand, he described the 18-year-old strokemaker as “the best young player I’ve ever seen, which includes Sehwag, Cook and Root”.
Gill passed 50 in four of his five innings, including a 54-ball 63 in India’s first match against Australia, 90* from 59 deliveries versus Zimbabwe, 86 in the Super League quarter-final win over Bangladesh and then a superlative unbeaten 102 against Pakistan to seal his team’s place in the final. Only in the final against the Aussies, when he still scored a run-a-ball 31, did he complete an innings without raising his bat. Without question, India have unearthed another batting gem.
4. FINN ALLEN, New Zealand
Right-hand top-order batsman
338 runs at 67.60, 1 hundred, 2 fifties
The Kiwis will looks back on this tournament as an opportunity missed in front of their home fans, as they finished a disappointing eighth overall. One player who seized his chance, though, was Finn Allen, the big-hitting 18-year-old from Auckland. Only Hasitha Boyagoda of Sri Lanka struck more boundaries than Allen’s 46.
New Zealand’s No.3 opened his account for the tournament with a blistering 115* against West Indies, before a truly brutal knock of 90 from 40 deliveries – eight fours, six sixes – against Kenya. Three modest scores followed but he signed off with a stylish 87 in the seventh-place play-off defeat to England, demonstrating he has far more to his game than simply sheer force.
His tournament strike rate of 119 – the highest of any batsman in the tournament with more than 200 runs – will have no doubt piqued the interest of New Zealand’s national selectors.
5. RAYNARD VAN TONDER, South Africa (cap)
Right-hand top-order batsman
348 runs at 69.60, 2 hundreds, 1 fifty
Judged to be the most tactically astute captain on show by the selection panel, van Tonder skippered his team to a fifth-place finish and demonstrated his talent with the bat, producing three standout knocks.
He began his tournament by demolishing Kenya’s bowling attack, scoring 143 from 121 deliveries, before entering a mini slump which brought him just six runs from three innings. He rediscovered his touch against New Zealand, registering his second century of the tournament, and then saw his side over the line versus Bangladesh in the fifth-place play-off, finishing unbeaten on 82.
It brought his tournament tally to 348 runs, putting him behind only Alick Athanaze of West Indies and India's Gill in the run-scoring charts.
6. WANDILE MAKWETU, South Africa (wk)
Wicket-keeper; right-hand middle-order batsman
11 catches; 184 runs at 46, 2 fifties
South Africa’s wicket-keeper was excellent behind stumps throughout the tournament, pouching 11 catches, the second-most of any keeper behind Pakistan’s Rohail Nazir. His sharp glovework was underlined by a wonderful take to dismiss New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra off an inside-edge in the group stages.
Added to his work in the field, the 19-year-old was also the keeper who scored the most runs at the tournament. He managed 184 runs at an average of 46 and a strike rate of 92.46, with a run-a-ball top-score of 99 not out earning him the Player of the Match award against West Indies. Makwetu also scored an impressive 60 in the Super League quarter-final defeat to Pakistan.
7. ANUKUL ROY, India
Slow left-arm orthodox bowler; left-hand lower-order batsman
14 wickets at 9.07, 1 five-wicket haul; 41 runs at 13.66
With an economy rate below of 3.84, an exceptional average of 9.07 and a wicket tally of 14 (the joint-highest in the tournament), Anukul Roy proved invaluable in India’s run to the title. A constant wicket-taking threat, and seemingly impossible to attack, he was a dream for his captain Prithvi Shaw to be able to turn to.
His tournament highlights came against Papua New Guinea, when he took 5/14, and Zimbabwe, who he strangled with 4/20, but he was consistently reliable throughout and never let his side down. Roy also showed he can hold a bat, making a responsible 33 from 45 balls in the Super League semi-final against Pakistan when India were wobbling. Could we be looking at the next Ravindra Jadeja?
8. KAMLESH NAGARKOTI, India
Right-arm fast, right-hand lower-order bat
9 wickets at 16.33; 17 runs at 8.50
The fifth and final member of the Indian contingent in this side, Kamlesh Nagarkoti turned heads with his raw pace, to the extent that was snapped up at the IPL auction by Kolkata Knight Riders despite never having played a senior T20 match.
He was clocked at 149kph in India’s group-stage victory over Australia and appears to have plenty more left in the tank, with a lithe, whippy action. Prithvi Shaw invariably turned to Nagarkoti when he needed a breakthrough, and he more than often provided it, taking three-fors against Australia and Bangladesh, and picking up two wickets versus the Aussies in the final.
Alongside his teammtes Shivam Mavi and Ishan Porel, who both would have been in contention to make this team, India are developing a stable of formidable young quicks.
9. GERALD COETZEE, South Africa
Right-arm fast bowler; right-hand lower-order bat
8 wickets at 17.37, 1 five-wicket haul; 70 runs at 23.33
Gerald Coetzee only played four of his side’s six matches, but finished strongly to make a serious impression on the tournament. The 17-year-old took 5/32 in the fifth-place play-off against New Zealand to help South Africa finish on a high and avenge their earlier defeat to the hosts.
The right-arm fast bowler found good pace and movement off the seam to take wickets at the top of the innings, combining well with Makwetu behind the stumps. He completed his five-wicket haul against the Kiwis later in the innings with clever changes of pace.
Although primarily chosen for his work with the ball, Coetzee also scored some valuable runs. Against Kenya he smashed 36 not out from just 14 balls, hitting two fours and three sixes, and followed that with 29 from 13 balls against the West Indies, with two fours and two sixes.
10. QAIS AHMAD, Afghanistan
Right-arm leg-spinner; right-hand tail-end batsman
14 wickets at 12.50
Afghanistan thrilled onlookers at this tournament with their hard-hitting batting and mystery spin. Several of their players already look well-equipped for the rigours of senior international cricket, none more so than the 17-year-old leg-spinner Qais Ahmad, who displayed his full box of tricks.
With 14 scalps, he finished as the joint-highest wicket-taker in the tournament, his best performance coming against New Zealand in a thumping Super League quarter-final victory, claiming figures of 4/33. Expect to see this youngster bamboozling batsmen in senior internationals before too long.
11. SHAHEEN AFRIDI, Pakistan
Left-arm fast-medium, left-hand tail-end batsman
12 wickets at 14.58, 1 five-wicket haul
Pakistan have a fine tradition of left-arm pacemen and in Shaheen Afridi they have discovered another with bags of skill. The towering seamer picked up 12 wickets in the tournament, with a best of 6/15 against Ireland, who proved no match for his pace and bounce.
Still just 17, Afridi has plenty of time to develop but the Pakistan national selectors will already be keeping a very close eye on this youngster, and may well consider fast-tracking his development. Not only does he have the craft, he also appears to have the temperament for the big occasion.
ALICK ATHANAZE, West Indies
Left-hand top-order batsman; right-arm off-spin
418 runs at 104.50, 2 hundreds, 2 fifties; 3 wickets at 29.33
West Indies weren’t able to match their brilliant run to the title two years ago but they can find some consolation in the emergence of Alick Athanaze, a silky strokemaker from Dominica. He scored unbeaten centuries against Kenya and in the Plate final defeat to Sri Lanka, also notching fifties versus South Africa and Canada.
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