On top down under
Gaurav Joshi provides a player-by-player account of Unmukt Chand's U-19 World Cup team on the seventh anniversary of India's famous win at Townsville, Australia in 2012; only few have lived up to expectations
The inspirational leader and India's leading run-scorer in the tournament. Opening the batting on bowler-friendly tracks Chand still managed to average 49.20, but he will forever be remembered for his scintillating unbeaten knock of 111 in the final. The Delhi player's career didn't flourish as expected and he has found it tough to break into the domestic set-up on a consistent basis.
It was not a successful World Cup for Vihari. Batting at No. 4, he struggled to cope with the bowler-friendly Australian pitches. The team management, however, persisted with him. Vihari is currently on national duty in the West Indies. He batted at No. 6 in the ongoing Test match and is on cusp of establishing a place in the middle-order. He struck a half century on Test debut in England and has gone on to be a prolific run-scorer in domestic cricket for Hyderabad.
Arguably, India's best fielder in the tournament. He took some fine catches at point. While his batting failed to live up to expectations, his pre-World Cup final motivational speech and his positive energy was a huge motivation for the team. Nath is currently the captain of Uttar Pradesh domestic team. Batting in the middle-order, he had a brilliant 2018-19 season and was on the cusp of India A selection. He was part of RCB in the IPL last year and also represented the Gujarat Lions in 2016.
Undoubtedly, the fan favourite and a genuine character in the team. Passi bowled some probing opening spells and also hit a few sixes in the lower-order to rescue India on a couple of occasions. But it was his game-changing spell of 6-23 in the must-win pool match against Zimbabwe that enabled India to gain momentum going into the knockouts. Passi has failed to live up to expectations and last played first-class cricket for Punjab 2016-17.
Renowned for his ability to swing the ball around, Sharma was leader of the attack. He constantly made early inroads in the opposition top-order. He rocked the Pakistan top-order in the quarter-final and also took four wickets in the final. Sharma has been an integral part of the Punjab Ranji Trophy team. He is also a regular in IPL where he represents the Sunrisers. He also represented India in T20 Internationals in 2015.
The man who led India to glory by hitting the winning runs in the final. The ever-chirpy Patel was instrumental behind the stumps and with the bat. It was Patel's match-winning partnership of 130 with Chand that propelled India to victory. Patel is being chased by multiple Ranji teams for the upcoming season. After playing a handful of games of Gujarat, he shifted to Tripura and was extremely successful.
Chopra became the first player from Himachal Pradesh to represent India at the junior level. He was the second leading run-scorer for India. The flamboyant opener struck three fifties including a vital 52 in the semi-final win over NZ. Chopra has been a prolific run-scorer for HP in the past two years and has also represented India A.
It was in the warm-up games that Ravikant grabbed the attention of the think-tank. The seamer was lethal with his seam movement through the campaign. Ravikant was the leading wicket-taker with 12 scalps including a five-wicket haul against Papua New Guinea. Ravikant featured in one List A match for Bengal in 2012, but has since been off the radar.
Zol, then 17, had a tough tournament. Apart from 72 against Papua New Guinea, he struggled to conjure up a big score. His greatest input came in the thriller against Pakistan in the quarter-final. Coming in at 8 for 3, Zol showed great temperament to dig India out of trouble with 36. Zol went on to play for Maharashtra in all three formats.
Arguably one of India's best players in tournament. Batting at No.3, Aparjith's elegance was eye-catching as was his knock of 51 in the thrilling one-wicket win over Pakistan in the quarter-final. He also contributed with the ball by picking up five wickets. Aparjith is still the backbone of the Tamil Nadu middle-order in domestic cricket. He has represented India A and played U-23 for India.
Left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh's guile and flight drew comparisons to Bishan Singh Bedi from former Australian captain Ian Chappell. Harmeet was extremely economical and claimed six wickets. It was his gutsy knock of 13 with the bat that got India across the line against Pakistan. The healthy competition in Mumbai along with a gradual dip in form resulted in Harmeet missing out on Mumbai selection. He played for Tripura in the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season.
Head coach Bharat Arun and assistant coach R Sridhar instilled plenty of positivity in the camp and ensured the players stayed calm to execute plans under pressure. Video analyst, Sanju Singh was like a father to most players. Conditioning coach Sudarshan VP ensured the players were extremely fit while team manager Vinod Phadke kept the mood jovial. Arun is now India's bowling coach; Sridhar, the fielding coach of the national team while Sanju continues to coach at a prominent school near Bangalore. Sudarshan was India's strength and conditioning coach for two years. He owns a fitness business.
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