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Despite falling short in final, future bright for India Colts – Times of India


NEW DELHI: The band of boys led by Uday Saharan could not go all the way in the U-19 World Cup but their effort, that took India to their fifth successive final at the marquee age-group event, won hearts and held out promise of a bright future for the Fab-15.

Record five-time champions India lost to Australia by 79 runs in the final on Sunday.

PTI looks back at the journey of the squad members who made India proud at the tournament.

Uday Saharan
Throughout the tournament, the India U-19 captain batted with maturity belying his age. He was the fulcrum of the line-up and pulled India out of pressure situations, especially in the semifinal while providing the launch-pad for big totals on other occasions.

It was hardly a surprise that Saharan ended the tournament as the leading scorer with 397 runs and has a bright future ahead of him. While growing up, Saharan moved to Punjab from Ganganagar in Rajasthan to pursue his cricket career.

Sachin Dhas
The boy from Beed in Maharashtra turned heads with his finishing skills in South Africa. Named after the great Sachin Tendulkar, Dhas provided India the x-factor with the bat and despite his high-risk play, finished among the top five run-getters in the tournament.

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His 96 against South Africa in the semifinal made all the difference as India stared at a heartbreaking loss after losing their first four wickets for 32 runs.

Musheer Khan
Just like his elder brother Sarfaraz Khan, who recently received his maiden Test call up, Musheer likes to bat and bat long. He amassed 360 runs in the tournament with two hundreds and a fifty.

His father Naushaad has played a massive role in the development of their cricketing careers.

Saumy Pandey
Son of a school teacher in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, Saumy provided timely strikes for India in the competition with his accurate left-arm spin and ended as the side’s leading wicket-taker with 18 scalps. His father introduced him to cricket to make him a fitter individual. For someone who took up the game to beat common cold and cough, Saumy has come a long way.

Arshin Kulkarni
The all-rounder from Solapur, Maharashtra already had an IPL contract before he made an impact in the U-19 World Cup. A sweet timer of the ball, Kulkarni is also more than handy with his medium pace and is dubbed as a future Hardik Pandya. He opened the batting for India in the ICC event.

Raj Limbani
The right-arm pacer from the Rann of Kutch, Limbani made an impact with the new ball. He bats left-handed and a six to get off the mark in a tense chase against South Africa helped India secure their ninth overall appearance in the final. Limbani had to leave Dayapur Village in the Rann of Kutch and shift to Baroda to chase his dream.

Priyanshu Moliya
Like Limbani, Moliya is also based in Baroda and has played seven first-class games with the highest score of 144 not out. The middle-order batter who can bowl off-spin did not have much to do in South Africa with the top-order firing in most of the games.

Naman Tiwari
The left-arm pacer from Lucknow is inspired by Jasprit Bumrah and learned landing his yorkers from the lead India pacer. He ended up with 12 wickets in the tournament at an average of 19.83. Son of an LIC agent, he felt the pressure of academics growing up before choosing cricket.

Murugan Abhishek
The young off-spinner from Hyderabad looks up to R Ashwin. He did not end up taking a bagful of wickets in the competition but was able to contain the flow of runs.

Aravelly Avanish Rao
The Wicketkeeper-batter is the product of an academy co-run by Ravi Shastri and R Sridhar. He has already made his List A debut for Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings picking him up in the recent IPL auction was a testament to his talent. He belongs to Pothugal village in Rajanna Sircilla district, Telangana.

Adarsh Singh
A feisty left-hander, the Kanpur lad has consistently provided the team with strong starts. His impressive knock of 76 against Bangladesh marked a perfect beginning for India in the tournament. Even in the final, he held his ground with a fighting 47 off 77 balls.

Behind Adarsh’s cricket journey lies a story of sacrifices made by his family. Despite facing adversity during the COVID-19 pandemic, where both his father and brother lost their jobs, the family ensured that Adarsh’s cricketing pursuits continued. To support him, they even sold a plot of land.

Rudra Patel
He could not get an opportunity to play in the tournament. He captained Gujarat to the Under-16 state championship title. He then led his state in the U-19 Vinoo Mankad Trophy and came to limelight scoring three centuries in a row including a double century against Himachal Pradesh.

Innesh Mahajan
He was the reserve wicketkeeper of the squad and didn’t get an opportunity with Avanish stealing the show. A fan of MS Dhoni, Innesh bats left-handed and hails from Noida.

Dhanush Gowda
The rising pacer from Bengaluru wants to follow the footsteps of Javagal Srinath and R Vinay Kumar. He didn’t get many opportunities to showcase his skills but is determined to make it big as his father failed to pursue his cricketing dream, while injuries ruined the career of his elder brother.

Aaradhya Shukla
Son of a mathematics teacher, the Ludhiana boy took up sports with an aim to “grow taller”. He impressed in the CK Nayudu Trophy and Cooch Behar Trophy to be picked for the Indian team.



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