From the Viewsroom

On a sticky wicket

B. Baskar | Updated on February 12, 2018 Published on February 11, 2018

In the decade 2000-10, it would have been near impossible for any of the youngsters to break into the Indian team.

Decoding Indian cricket’s U-19 conundrum

Rahul Dravid, now coach to India’s Under-19 men’s cricket team, recently made an interesting observation on the team’s recent World Cup victory. Dravid said that India had beaten Australia in the 2012 U-19 World Cup finals too, but from that Indian team, only one player went on to play for the senior team, whereas five or six Australian players graduated to the next level. So rather cheekily he went on to ask “Six years down the line, the debatable point is that who won that final?” A news portal has shown that since 1998, out of 117 U-19 players only 34 went on to have international careers at the senior level — a ‘strike rate’ of barely 30 per cent.

But numbers seen in isolation can be deceptive. In the decade 2000-10 it would have been near impossible for any of the youngsters to break into the Indian team, when batting was dominated by the ‘Fab Four’ — Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman — and the bowling by Kumble, Harbhajan and Zaheer Khan. Virendra Sehwag, Harbhajan and Yuvraj Singh were the only three players from the U-19 team of that era who went on to have successful international careers. Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja broke into the Indian team at a later period. The number of U-19 players who break into the senior squad will depend on two crucial factors: the form of the current players in the senior team and their age profile. The average age of the current 18-member Indian test team that played in South Africa is 29 with eight of them being 30 or above. It would be reasonable to assume that in the next five years some of them would retire.

But the U-19 player will have to slug it out with the likes of Karun Nair, Sanju Samson, Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer who are waiting in the wings.

Deputy Editor

Published on February 11, 2018
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