Cricket

U-19 World Cup | A battle of wrist spinners

Skipper Priyam Garg

Skipper Priyam Garg  

India starts as the favourite against Australia

Indian wrist spinner Ravi Bishnoi’s repertoire of skills will meet a match in Australian Tanveer Sangha’s variations in a face-off between two talented tweakers during the quarterfinals of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup here on Tuesday.

White ball cricket in recent times has seen wrist spinners emerge as an important cog and the junior category is no different where Bishnoi, easily the tournament’s most impactful bowler, would like to give his team the advantage over Australia. With 10 wickets from three matches, including a game-changing 4/30 against a gritty New Zealand, Bishnoi has proved why Kings XI Punjab has invested ₹2 crore on him in the IPL auction.

Even Sangha has been at his best with a haul of 10 wickets, including a spell of 5/14 against Nigeria. But there’s been a four-wicket haul against the West Indies and a wicket to show against England for the player of Indian origin.

On Tuesday, both wrist spinners will be the key to their team’s chances and Australia will look to improve its dismal record against India at the junior level.

In the last five U-19 encounters since 2013 (different teams have played though), India has won four matches with one game being abandoned due to rain.

Way ahead

As a team India is way ahead, both in terms of quality as well as temperament, with the likes of Yashasvi Jaiswal (two half-centuries), opening partner Divyansh Saxena and skipper Priyam Garg showing glimpses of their talent.

In bowling, lanky U.P. boy Kartik Tyagi, who breaches the 140kmph barrier quite regularly, and left-arm seamer Akash Singh, moving the white ball back into the right-handers, are a heady combination.

And there is left-arm spinner Atharva Ankolekar, who came back brilliantly against the Junior Black Caps despite being attacked early on. He got three crucial breakthroughs. However, a finger fracture in his right hand could be an impediment while fielding.

Tough customer

While Jaiswal, Garg, Thakur Tilak Verma and Saxena make India’s batting look strong, Australia skipper Mckenzie Harvey is a tough customer with the bat as he showed with an innings of 65 against England in its final group game.

Then there is Conor Sully, who bowls brisk medium pace and also has the ability to use the long handle to good effect.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 8:52:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/u-19-world-cup-a-battle-of-wrist-spinners/article30668801.ece

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