India Under-19 head coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar is confident that at least some players from the 2024 batch, which ensured a fifth consecutive final appearance for the record five-time champions, will play for the senior team.
Although five-time champions India lost to Australia by 79 runs in the final, players like captain Uday Saharan, Mushir Khan, Soumya Pandey and Sachin Dhas performed impressively throughout the tournament.
“Definitely (India's future is very bright). As a bowling side and a batting side, many players have excelled.
“He has shown maturity in difficult situations and it is a good sign for Indian cricket,” Kanitkar said in the post-match press conference on Sunday.
Saharan, who plays for Punjab, finished the tournament as the leading run-scorer with 397 runs.
His stature grew as the tournament progressed. He scored a century against Nepal before playing a match-winning inning of 81 runs in the semi-final against South Africa.
Number three batsman Mursheer, younger brother of Mumbai's legendary batsman Sarfaraz Khan, was the team's most consistent performer with the bat and finished with 360 runs.
The two other standout players were Dhas, who played the role of finisher, and left-arm spinner Pandey, who took 18 wickets.
Maharashtra batsman Dhas showed passion, which is a pre-requisite for the highest level.
The Indian team has always been a powerhouse in the age group and the Under-19 World Cup has produced stars like Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Suresh Raina, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Shubman. Gill and Yashasvi Jaiswal are some of the names.
“Every time there are some people who move forward either in the IPL or in the Indian team. I am sure there will be a couple, but there is very good competition at home,” Kanitkar said.
Team members Arshin Kulkarni and Avnish Rao had already earned IPL contracts in the Under-19 World Cup.
Kanitkar believes that playing in the Under-19 World Cup gives players an idea of what it is like to play at the senior level.
“For the players to have had a great journey, everything has been highlighted, these performances matter, they are under scrutiny. They get used to these situations. They know what to expect when they play high level cricket and are prepared,” said the 49-year-old head coach.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI,