The young challengers
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- Published 27.09.06
The Challenger Trophy in Chennai will see a host of youngsters making their debut on the big scene. It is up to the this talented bunch to prove that the national selectors were justified in giving them the break at the right time.
The following is a brief summary of the careers:
Seventeen-year-old Ravindra Jadeja hails from Rajkot. He has played for the India Under-19 team as a left-arm slow bowler and is more than a useful left-handed middle-order batsman. He had a fairly decent tour of Pakistan this month. He made 94 in the final ODI of the tour. Earlier this year, he played for West Zone in the Duleep Trophy and for India A in Abu Dhabi and Australia.
Another product of the never-ending Uttar Pradesh’s emerging talent list is this 20-year-old allrounder. Praveen Kumar has been a consistent performer since his debut last year. He was a part of the UP’s successful Ranji campaign last season. He made 48 and 15 and claimed seven wickets, including a five for 33, in the final against Bengal. His 166 runs and 16 wickets in the one-day tournaments last season have also not gone unnoticed
Karnataka’s C. Raghu is the surprise selection of the tournament. This 25-year-old allrounder (bowls off-break) probably caught the selectors’ eye with some decent performances during his recent tour Down Under with Karnataka in the Emerging Players Tournament. Leading the side, he made 155 runs and claimed ten wickets during the tour. Last season he had two hundreds for Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy. This tournament will prove if the selectors were right in giving him the break.
The Mumbai-based 19-year-old Rohit Sharma is the most exciting batsman to appear on the scene since Sachin Tendulkar. He is a product of the junior structure having played for the Under-17 and Under-19 national teams. He made an impact at the junior World Cup in Sri Lanka.
However, his unbeaten 142 in 123 balls for West Zone against North Zone in the Deodhar Trophy in Udaipur in March this year has made him a favourite with the selectors. His performances for the Indian A sides in Abu Dhabi and Australia has only enhanced his reputation.
Sixteen-year-old Tanmay Srivastava is a part of the emerging breed of exciting talent from the state of Uttar Pradesh. This youngster, who led the India junior team to England in July-August this year, compiled an outstanding 182 against England juniors, which enabled them to win by a huge 249-run margin.
A couple of weeks ago he made a monumental 220 against the Pakistan U-19 in Peshawar to orchestrate an innings victory. This incidentally was the highest-ever score made by an Indian in international junior cricket. Only time will tell how this youngster tackles the pressures at the senior level.