India and their record in the ICC tournaments have always been very encouraging. They have been one of the most consistent performers when it comes to the multi-nation events and this tournament promises to be no different for them. This U-19 team is promising and enters the tournament as one of the favorites.
India is placed in Group D alongside South Africa, UAE, and Scotland.
India's squad features 2 players who have represented the senior side and combine for a total of 121 caps - Shafali Verma (74) & Richa Ghosh (47). Shafali is going to become the first & the only player to play the U-19 World Cup with 2 Test caps.
India had a two-month-long domestic and international season. In October, they had the 2nd edition of the inter-state Under-19 T20 Trophy. After that, BCCI conducted a 4-team U-19 Challengers Trophy in Goa. Out of that, two teams had been chalked out – India A & B to play a Quadrangular series against West Indies U-19 and Sri Lanka U-19. The last preparatory series India U-19 played before the World Cup squad selection was against the New Zealand Development squad which India won by a clinical margin of 5-0.
India U-19s flew to South Africa early and played their U-19s which they won by another clean margin of 4-0. A near-perfect preparation and inclusion of India's senior national players, Richa Ghosh and Shafali Verma have boosted India's chances to lift the inaugural ICC Under-19 T20 World Cup trophy.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Hurley Gala - The athletic Hurley Gala will be the key to India's all-round performances and her boundary patrol. She is a hard-hitter of the ball and can find the boundaries with proper cricketing shots on the front & back foot. The youngster from Mumbai also bowls at a decent pace and has a knack for picking wickets regularly without being wayward.
She struck at 129 in the Women's U-19 T20 Trophy along with 7 wickets to her name. She continued that form into the Challengers Trophy, Quadrangular Series, & the series against the New Zealand Development squad and South Africa U-19 amassing a total of 195 runs and taking 10 wickets. Her bowling style would be well-suited to the conditions that Benoni generally has to offer.
Titas Sadhu - Another pace all-rounder in the side is Bengal's, Titas Sadhu. She led her domestic team in the U-19s and has a very crystal clear know-how of the game. She takes the new ball and is always bang on target from the first over. She is also one of the safest fielders in this Indian side and anticipates quite well in the field to hunt the ball down quickly. As a batter, she is again technically very good but could have less role to play in this lineup.
Titas has had an outstanding T20 season on the back of which she has merited a place in the World Cup squad. She took 7 wickets at an average of just 8.6 and an economy of 3.6 in the Women's U-19 T20 Trophy and continued to do the damage in the other T20 competitions and series that followed.
Mannat Kashyap - The tall left-arm spinner is the kind of spinner that many teams don't have in their ranks. At the U-19 level, you get bowlers who are slower and flight the ball. But Mannat has the right pace to succeed at this level. It comes fairly close to how the spinners at the senior level operate. She mixes it up really well & that's a positive sign. From slower flighted deliveries to quick turners to flat ones, they can all be so deceptive if you aren't a good player of spin. Carnage awaits in the middle overs!
Shafali Verma - Shafali Verma easily becomes a player to watch out for with her experience at the senior level. She again had a string of low scores, but she'd be raring to go in the group stage. The right-handed batter would also be chipping in with her spin-bowling and she already had an impact in the warm-up game against Australia with the ball.
Shweta Sehrawat - Shweta Sehrawat was the captain of the victorious Indian U-19 team against the New Zealand Development squad. She would now be the vice-captain of the side in this tournament. The right-handed batter very rarely misses out on an opportunity to score runs and is mighty impressive. She is a strong bottom-handed player who uses that power to go straight down the ground against the spinners. She is very good on the off-side against the pacers as well and dispatches the fuller deliveries.
Sehrawat was on song in the Women's U-19 T20 Trophy with 180 runs in 6 innings at an SR of 129 and scored 474 runs more in the other 4 tournaments in 17 innings.
Richa Ghosh - Richa Ghosh just recently demolished Australia's senior team, & when one does that, it's safe to assume that she will be a force at the U-19 level and daunting to bowl to for the bowlers in the opposition ranks.
Gongadi Trisha - Trisha didn't play a part in the U-19 Trophy and directly represented the senior side. She scored 172 runs at an SR of 100 and laced a few boundaries across 7 innings. She is a fearless cricketer if her high boundary % of 58 is anything to go by in the last few competitions. The Quadrangular series featuring the West Indies & Sri Lanka U-19s saw her strike at 141 with a boundary % of 76, which was the highest in the competition.
Hrishita Basu - Basu's role could get altered and there is a chance she may not start. Even if she does, she won't be taking the gloves in the presence of Richa Ghosh in the side. Basu is an excellent wicket-keeper with clean pickups & an ever-so-encouraging voice from behind the stumps. She is a typical wicket-keeper who has got all the unorthodox shots in her armory and she would be looking to unfurl them against the spin-heavy opponents.
India looks like a well-rounded unit and have a daunting array of players in their squad. They look really strong and are one of the two favorites alongside England to go all the way.