New Delhi, July 01, 2023.
Since 2008, India has won four U-19 World Cup titles out of eight. In those tournaments, apart from few outstanding talents with the ball, it is the fast bowlers who have got not just India, but even someone like Ian Bishop genuinely excited. But so far, out of the 34 pacers who have featured in those eight U-19 World Cups, only eight have graduated to the international level, with Jaydev Unadkat being the lone one to feature in Test cricket. Having made his debut in 2010, he had to wait another 12 years for his next Test. Unlike the pacers, more and more batsmen have made smoothless transition with the likes of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill all featuring in Test cricket and tasting success. In a fortnight, you can also add Yashasvi Jaiswal, who was part of the 2020 U-19 team, to the list as he looks set to debut in the Test against West Indies.
Apart from featuring regularly in the domestic circuit, these seamers have also generated interest among IPL franchises. In every IPL auction, on the basis of their performance in the U-19 World Cup that more or less happens just before the player auctions, or through the course of it, they have managed to get lucrative deals. But on field, they haven’t been able to generate as much success as they would have hoped. It has taken them a few years under their belt in domestic circuit before even having a notable success in the IPL, but even there the examples are very few. Siddarth Kaul had done well for Sunrisers Hyderabad when they won the title. Sandeep Sharma, with a lethal inswinger in armour, has good numbers in the IPL and last season came up matured as a death bowler. Harshal Patel, with different versions of slower balls in his kitty, is one Royal Challengers Bangalore bank on regularly and it even landed him a spot in the T20 World Cup. Among them, Unadkat, a veteran of 101 first-class matches, has over the years gone for big money at the IPL auctions, but in the 13 seasons that he has featured, has played more than 10 matches in a single edition only on four occasions. On the other hand, Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan, who haven’t for a long run in the senior India team, are not just regulars, but also consistent at the IPL.