The rise and rise of India in U-19 cricket
Cricket may be a game of glorious uncertainties, but the under-19 final against Australia may have been more certain than most.
The gap between India’s under-19 team and those of other nations has widened since the 1990s, shows a Mint analysis of ESPNcricinfo data. India has had the largest win percentage in matches played between major teams in the 2000s as well as the current decade.
Besides, India’s under-19 teams have been winning the majority of its matches against their Australian counterparts since the 2000s. Their track record has only been improving with time. India’s under-19 team won 42.86% of their one-day international matches against Australia in the 1990s. This has risen to 90.91% in the current decade.
Individual performances, too, have picked up. There are more players, such as Manjot Kalra, the final’s Man of the Match, who scored an unbeaten century to help India chase down the target of 217. There are also players such as Shubman Gill, who scored 372 runs during the series, ending the tournament with an average of 124 and the Man of the Series award
India’s batting looks stronger than before relative to Australia because of such performances.
A similar trend is seen among the bowlers. Performers such as Anukul Roy, who bagged 14 wickets in the series at an average of 9.07, have helped India’s bowling prowess. He was aided in the final by Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Ishan Porel and Shiva Singh, all taking two wickets each.
The gap between Indian bowlers and Australia’s has now widened in favour of India. The numbers are based on the median average of the top three wicket-takers for a given decade in matches between the two countries.
The under-19 team members deserve their kudos. But, like coach Rahul Dravid said, the real victory may be in how many of them carry their performances over to the senior team.
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