August 26, 2012, was a day of pride for the country as the Under-19 team led by Unmukt Chand brought home the prestigious U-19 World Cup.

Unmukt Chand (C)

Why cricket: I started my playing with my uncles and dad and it was a very natural progression as my passion for the game increased.

Driving force: I really enjoy the game and as I practised the intent only grew stronger.

Balancing act: I had been a topper till Std VIII. I joined Modern School in Std IX and then life became easier and I was able to manage studies and cricket.

Practice sessions: I practise between seven to nine in the mornings and between three to seven in the evenings

Age: 19 years

Batting: Right-hand bat

Bowling: Right-arm offbreak

State: Delhi

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B Aparajith

Why cricket: My interest developed because of my father. By age seven I knew I wanted to play for the country.

Driving force: Passion for the sport got me to pursue my interest.

Balancing act: Till Std VII I went to school. After that I studied whenever I found the time. And I have managed to do well too.

Practice sessions: Earlier I use to put in two hours a day but now it’s more on field and practice matches.

Age: 18 years

Batting: Right-hand bat

Bowling: Right-arm offbreak

State: Tamil Nadu

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Akhil Herwadkar

Why cricket: I come from a small town called Kohlapur. From Under-14 and Ranji trophy to captaining the state team to Under 19, I have been playing for almost 11 years now.

Driving force: The support I got from my parents and the fact that I wanted to take it up as a career.

Balancing act: I had full support from my college even during my exams. Now am in my 1st year B. Com and do plan to finish my studies.

Practice sessions: I practise for three hours in the morning and in the evening.

Age: 17 years

Batting: Left-hand bat

Bowling: Right-arm off-break

State: Maharashtra

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Vikas Mishra

Why cricket: I started playing with my friends when my father suggested that I join an academy and start training

Driving force: My passion for the game made me realise how much I longed to play for the country.

Balancing act: I’m yet to give my Std XII exams but my principal and school have extended their full support and I know I will soon finish my exams.

Practice sessions: I practise for about three hours a day.

Age: 19 years

Batting: Right-hand bat

Bowling: Slow left-arm orthodox

State: Delhi

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Vijay Zol

Why cricket: I started playing cricket right from when I was six or seven.I joined a cricket academy in Jalna. I loved the game and decided to make it big.

Driving force: My dream was to play for India and that I really enjoyed my game helped me take this decision. I have played for the state for 6 years before I got selected for the Under-19.

Balancing act: I left school when I was in Std IX. It was perhaps the biggest decision I took but I needed the time off to concentrate on the game. My parents allowed me to do this but I do intend to finish my studies.

Practice sessions: I make sure I put in seven to eight hours a day.

Age: 17 years

Batting: Left-hand bat

Bowling: Right-arm off-break

State: Maharashtra

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Smit Patel (WK)

Why cricket: I have always wanted to play as both my grandfather and father have been in the same field.

Driving force: I never liked studies and I started pursuing cricket. I use to see players playing for the country and this inspired me to take it up as a career.

Balancing act: It is tough but whenever I found time I went for tuitions. But studies only happen during the off season.

Practice sessions: I practise from six to 10 in the morning and four to seven in the evenings.

Age: 19 years

Playing role: Wicket- keeper

Batting: Right-hand bat

State: Gujarat

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Sandipan Das

Why cricket: I have always wanted to be a cricketer. But I realised this even more during the Ranji matches.

Driving force: My family’s support and the passion I have for the game helped me make this decision.

Balancing act: School has definitely taken a backseat. My school did not allow me to play but now things are better.

Practice sessions: I practise for about eight to nine hours a day.

Age: 19 years 247 days

Batting: Right-hand bat

Bowling: Right-arm medium

State: West Bengal

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Sandeep Sharma

Why cricket: I have been very passionate about the game from a very young age.

Driving force: From the time I started playing cricket, my coach had always encouraged me and asked me to start playing for the country.

Balancing act: My coach was also my teacher and he helped me with my studies too. Am currently doing my First Year B.A.

Practice sessions: I make sure I practise for 6-8 hours a day.

Age: 19 years

Batting: Right-hand bat

Bowling: Right-arm medium

State: Punjab

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Prashant Chopra

Why cricket: My father is a cricket coach and, on the several occasions that I went with him to the stadium, I saw many big players come and go. This is how my interest for the game developed.

Driving force: I have always loved this game. My biggest inspiration is Sachin. Also I wanted to make a name for my country.

Balancing act: I have always made some time for studies. My school has always supported me and I am doing my commerce in Std XII.

Practice sessions: I practise in the mornings and in the evenings for at least three hours.

Age: 19 years

Batting: Right-hand bat

Bowling: Leg break googly

State: Himachal Pradesh

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Akshdeep Nath (VC)

Why cricket: My father was a national handball player and he introduced me to the game. I joined the club and I started enjoying the game.

Driving force: For me it’s about enjoying the game. The state camps got me interested and I decided to make it a career.

Balancing act: I never ignored studies. After my practice I would come back and make time for studies. Though am yet to finish my Std XII I will surely finish it next year.

Practice sessions: I practise for about seven to eight hours a day.

Age: 19 years

Batting: Right-hand bat

Bowling: Right-arm medium-fast

State: Uttar Pradesh

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Rush Kalaria

Why cricket: My interest for cricket started from the age of 10. Though it was just a hobby I went for coaching camps and I decided to take it up seriously.

Driving force: My father has been the driving force as I made the sport my career.

Balancing act: My school and college have supported me throughout. In fact special exams were held for me if I missed any.

Practice sessions: I practise daily for three hours in the morning and evening.

Age: 19 years

Batting: Right-hand bat

Bowling: Left-arm medium

State: Gujarat

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Ravikant Singh

Why cricket: My brother used to play cricket and remember accompanying him to the stadium. Long before I knew my interest developed and I started playing cricket.

Driving force: I don’t think anything else other than my passion for the sport could have helped me take this decision.

Balancing act: For me playing and studying are two separate activities. I made sure to study after I finished practicing. I have always done justice to whatever I did. So when I play I only concentrate on playing and weed out everything else. The same goes when am studying too.

Practice sessions: I put in three hours of practise everyday.

Age: 18 years

Batting: Right-hand bat

Bowling: Right-arm medium

State: West Bengal

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Harmeet Singh

Why cricket: I use to play football as a child around my house. But my dad encouraged me to join a camp to learn cricket.

Driving force: Right after school I decided that I wanted to take it up on a professional level. The craze for the game is huge and being coached by big players just rooted my decision.

Balancing act: My studies did get affected but parents and school helped with extra classes to help me study.

Practice sessions: I try and practise for two to three hours a day both in the mornings and in the evenings.

Age: 19 years

Batting: Left-hand bat

Bowling: Slow left-arm orthodox

State: Maharashtra

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Hanuma Vihari

Why cricket: It started when I played with my friends in the colony. I shifted from East Godavari to Hyderabad to pursue cricket as it had become more than just a game

Driving force: I think it’s my mom. She loves the game and it’s because of that I’m here today.

Balancing act: I studied till Std XI. I am yet to complete Std XII. I get to study only during the off-season.

Practice sessions: I usually practise for four hours a day.

Age: 17 years

Batting: Left-hand bat

Bowling: Right-arm off-break

State: Hyderabad

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Kamal Passi

Why cricket: I have been playing for 12 years now. I had been very interested and the more I played the more I was convinced that I wanted to play for the country.

Driving force: The decision was made over the years.

Balancing act: I have never been very good in studies. In fact last year I even missed my exams. Whenever I find the time I do try to attend classes. Right now I’m in my First year B.A.

Practice sessions: I practise for five hours in a day.

Age: 19 years

Batting: Right-hand bat

Bowling: Right-arm medium

State: Punjab