ICC: Two most recent champions the teams to watch in Group A

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Photo Credit: ICC

The finalists of the 2020 edition of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup, India and Bangladesh, will be joined by Ireland and USA in Group A.

India are also the defending champions, having beaten England in an epic see-saw encounter back in 2022 in the West Indies.

The Group A fixtures begin on January 19 with Ireland playing USA in Bloemfontein.

Here we take a look at the four teams, their make-up and some of the future stars to look out for.

India

Defending Champions India have been serial winners in the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup history, winning five titles in the 14 editions.

Going into the 2024 campaign, they will again be one of the strong favourites to go deep in the tournament. In fact, only once – in the inaugural edition in 1988 – has India failed to make it past the group stage in an U19 Men’s CWC.

Uday Saharan will lead the side and hope to put his name in an elite list of Indian captains – Mohammed Kaif, Virat Kohli, Unmukt Chand, Prithvi Shaw and Yash Dhull – to have lifted the U19 World Cup trophy.

Their recent semi-final exit at the ACC U19 Asia Cup will serve as fuel for a determined Indian side to aim for the stars.

Their undefeated run in the pre-tournament tri-nation series against South Africa and Afghanistan will give them confidence, making them formidable contenders with their eyes set on a historic sixth title in the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup.

Squad

Arshin Kulkarni, Adarsh Singh, Rudra Mayur Patel, Sachin Dhas, Priyanshu Moliya, Musheer Khan, Uday Saharan (c), Avanish Aravelly, Saumy Kumar Pandey, Murugan Abhishek, Innesh Mahajan, Dhanush Gowda, Aaradhya Shukla, Raj Limbani and Naman Tiwari.

Fixtures

20 January: v Bangladesh, Bloemfontein

25 January: v Ireland, Bloemfontein

28 January: v USA, Bloemfontein

Watch out for

Naman Tiwari

Naman Tiwari has enjoyed a great start to his cricket career, starting with a five-for against Bangladesh in a tri-series in November. In four matches, he picked up 12 wickets to finish as the second-highest wicket-taker in the series.

The 18-year-old followed it up with five wickets in three Asia Cup games and has built great momentum with seven wickets in three games in the recent tri-series while familiarising himself with the South African conditions.

Naman offers India a trait that has been a bit of a rarity over the years – left-arm pace. With his stellar performances, he undoubtedly becomes one of the key players to keep a close eye on in the upcoming tournament.

What they said

Uday Sharan, India captain: “Our preparation has been intense, and the team has been working tirelessly to fine-tune every aspect of our game. We understand the challenges that come with representing our country at this level, but the excitement within the squad is palpable. The prospect of competing against the best U19 teams from around the world is both thrilling and motivating.”

Bangladesh

Brimming with confidence following their triumph in the ACC U19 Asia Cup, Bangladesh will be looking to carry forward their momentum into the U19 Men’s CWC 2024.

In keeping with the overall progress of Bangladesh cricket over the past decade, their U19 team has mirrored this success, reaching the quarterfinals twice, making the semi-finals once, and securing the trophy once in the last four editions.

The pinnacle of their success came in the 2020 edition in South Africa, when they secured their maiden U19 World Cup, the first-ever ICC trophy won by Bangladesh, defeating India in a thrilling final.

In the upcoming tournament, the responsibility rests on the shoulders of Mahfuzur Rahman Rabby and his teammates to further the U19 team’s commendable journey and build on the positive strides they have made in recent years.

Squad

Mahfuzur Rahman Rabby (c), Ashiqur Rahman Shibli, Jishan Alam, Chowdhury Md Rizwan, Adil Bin Siddik, Mohammad Ashrafuzzaman Boranno, Ariful Islam, Shihab James, Ahrar Amin, Sheikh Parvez Jibon, Rafi Uzzaman Rafi, Rohanat Doullah Borson, Iqbal Hasan Emon, Wasi Siddiquee, Maruf Mridha

Fixtures

20 January: v India, Bloemfontein

22 January: v Ireland, Bloemfontein

26 January: v USA, Bloemfontein

Watch out for

Mahfuzur Rahman Rabby

Following Bangladesh’s tradition of producing left-hand batsmen and left-arm orthodox all-rounders, Mahfuzur Rahman Rabby has emerged as a standout performer with both bat and ball in the past year. In a total of 20 matches, Rabby showcased his skills by scoring 367 runs and claiming an impressive 32 wickets.

Leading Bangladesh to triumph in the U19 Asia Cup, Rabby not only captained effectively but also ended as the second-highest wicket-taker (9 wickets) for the team.

His noteworthy performances have garnered attention, leading to his recent debut in List A cricket during the Bangladesh Cricket League One-Day competition.

What they said

Mahfuzur Rahman Rabby, Bangladesh captain: “We will go there to win the World Cup. Bangladesh has done that before and there is no reason why we can’t carry the momentum from the Asia Cup to South Africa.”

USA

Making their third U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup appearance, USA returns to the competition for the first time since 2010. Before that, USA made their maiden appearance in the 2006 edition of the tournament in Sri Lanka.

Securing qualification in a thrilling manner, USA triumphed over Canada in the final Americas Qualifier match, determined by the DLS method. Despite both teams finishing level on points, the USA’s superior net run rate ultimately earned them the coveted spot in the premier U19 tournament.

A standout performance for the team in the Americas Qualifier was when they put up a mammoth 515 against Argentina before bowling out the opposition to win by a whopping 450 runs.

Squad

Amogh Arepally, Rayaan Bhagani, Aaryan Batra, Khush Bhalala, Prannav Chettipalayam, Arya Garg, Siddarth Kappa, Bhavya Mehta, Aarin Nadkarni, Manav Nayak, Parth Patel, Rishi Ramesh (c), Utkarsh Srivastava, Ateendra Subramanian, Aryaman Suri.

Fixtures

19 January: v Ireland, Bloemfontein

26 January: v Bangladesh, Bloemfontein

28 January: v India, Bloemfontein

Watch out for

Prannav Chettipalayam

The leading run-scorer in the Americas Qualifier, USA’s Prannav Chettipalayam has piled on a mountain of runs over the last year.

He started the tournament with a half-century against Bermuda and followed it up with two more fifties in the next three games.

In a standout performance, Chettipalayam smashed a remarkable 136 off 104 balls in USA’s penultimate game, significantly boosting their net run-rate. Displaying composure in the final Qualifier match, he remained unbeaten, guiding his team to victory and securing their qualification for the U19 Men’s CWC 2024.

What they said

Rishi Ramesh, USA captain: “Personally I will be looking towards our game against India, because I think they are historically one of the biggest teams in cricket. A win against them specifically would be quite historic for the nation of the USA.”

Ireland

This year marks the 10th time Ireland have qualified for the U19 Men’s CWC, and the team will be eager to surpass their previous performances.

Ireland’s display in the previous edition will give them confidence. They achieved their joint-best finish by securing the 10th position in 2022, matching their accomplishment in 2010.

Ireland toured South Africa in March last year, with 10 of the 15 squad members gaining valuable experience. Additionally, the team enters the competition with the confidence of a significant achievement – their first-ever victory against England U19 during the summer of the previous year.

Squad

Philippe le Roux (c), Macdara Cosgrave, Harry Dyer, Daniel Forkin, Kian Hilton, Ryan Hunter, Finn Lutton, Scott Macbeth, Carson McCullough, John McNally, Jordan Neill, Oliver Riley, Gavin Roulston, Matthew Weldon, Reuben Wilson.

Fixtures

19 January: v USA, Bloemfontein

22 January: v Bangladesh, Bloemfontein

25 January: v India, Bloemfontein

Watch out for

Philippe le Roux

Making his second appearance in the U19 World Cup, Philippe le Roux has been entrusted with the captaincy for Ireland in the upcoming tournament.

In the 2022 edition, le Roux emerged as the leading run-scorer for the team, amassing 165 runs in six matches with an impressive average of 41.25.

His standout contribution came in a Player of the Match-winning performance against Canada, where his unbeaten 83 helped Ireland to victory in their sole triumph of the tournament.

Now captaining the side, le Roux will hope to build on his past success and guide Ireland to a promising campaign in the U19 World Cup.

What they said

Phillippe le Roux, Ireland captain: “We want to leave having put Ireland on the map at this level, like the senior team has done over the last few years, as a team that will not be pushed over easily.”

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