In what promises to be a mouth-watering contest, India will take on Australia in their first group game of the ICC U19 World Cup. They are the two most successful teams in U19 CWC history, having each won the tournament three times apiece, and both have brought sides stacked full of top-class players, many of whom have already had success against high-class opposition. We may well look back on this fixture, and the names of those who took part, and be amazed at how many have gone on to have significant careers. Don’t miss it.
For both teams, it’s a case of which one decides to show up. Both have veered between excellent and poor in the last 12 months, with little middle ground. India stormed through two five-match series against England, losing just once and winning eight, with one tie. But the Under 19 Asia Cup was a huge disappointment, as the lost to Nepal and Bangladesh and crashed out at the group stages. Australia similarly had a 4-1 series victory set against a 2-0 reverse against Pakistan.
India won their first title in 2000, with Yuvraj Singh claiming the player of the tournament award, a feat he would emulate for the senior side in 2011 as India won the World Cup proper. The 2004 player of the tournament also came from India, though the Shikhar Dhawan-inspired side lost to Pakistan in the final. The 2008 side, captained by one Virat Kohli, also claimed the title, and India added a third triumph in 2012. In 2016 they came desperately close to securing a record-breaking fourth trophy, but were beaten by West Indies in a last-over thriller.
Australia and India have clashed 33 times at this level, with the ledger currently reading 19-14 in favour of India. In World Cups however, the teams are tied at two wins apiece. Their most recent World Cup clash came in 2012, when, thanks to an Unmukt Chand century, India triumphed in the final.
India U19 captain Prithvi Shaw believed getting to New Zealand early has helped the team settle down. "We've been here a week now, played a couple of games. Everything has gone well, the preparation of the team has been good. Our goal is obviously to win the World Cup but at the same time we are looking forward to our first game," he said.
India: Prithvi Shaw (C), Shubman Gill, Aryan Juyal, Abhishek Sharma, Arshdeep Singh, Harvik Desai, Manjot Kalra, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Pankaj Yadav, Riyan Parag, Ishan Porel, Himanshu Rana, Anukul Roy, Shivam Mavi, Shiva Singh
Australia: Jason Sangha (C), Will Sutherland, Xavier Bartlett, Max Bryant, Jack Edwards, Zak Evans, Jarrod Freeman, Ryan Hadley, Baxter Holt, Nathan McSweeney, Jonathan Merlo, Lloyd Pope, Jason Ralston, Param Uppal, Austin Waugh