Ranji Trophy, 2012-13 January 15, 2013

Long way to go for Under-19 stars

August 26, 2012 was a momentous day for Indian cricket - their Under-19 team had lifted the World Cup in Australia, beating the hosts in the final
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August 26, 2012 was a momentous day for Indian cricket - their Under-19 team had lifted the World Cup in Australia, beating the hosts in the final. While the seniors had been whitewashed a few months ago in the same country, our boys defeated all odds to reclaim the coveted trophy. At one stroke, these youngsters became household names, for they were no longer appearing just on sports pages, but on the front pages of newspapers and tabloids. Even some of the most respectable voices in world cricket thought that a few of our boys might be ready to don the national colours.

With the league phase of this season's Ranji Trophy having concluded, this might be a good time to see how these promising young stars of the U-19 World Cup fared amid the senior men on their home turf. This may not only elaborate the relevance of Under-19 cricket but also reaffirm Ranji Trophy's place in Indian cricket. There have been many occasions when players have been made to jump the queue and represent the Indian team straight from the Under-19 level. Some of these players did sparkle in the beginning, but after a short while were sent back to domestic cricket to reclaim form. While some of them managed to find their way back to the top, others just flittered away into the oblivion.

Let's start with the Under-19 team captain Unmukt Chand, marked as the most promising cricketer of the lot, and touted to be a replacement for Gambhir and Sehwag. Unmukt has scored 445 runs at 37.08 in eight matches, while Jeewanjot Singh from Punjab, who played half of his Ranji matches on a green-top in Mohali, has scored 916 runs in nine matches. In any case, two centuries in 21 first-class matches doesn't really speak volumes about a potential Test opener.

Unfortunately, Unmukt isn't an aberration, for most players from the winning squad (barring Sandeep Sharma from Punjab) have either struggled to hold their own for their respective teams, or haven't even managed to break into the playing XI this Ranji season. Baba Aparajith, Prashant Chopra, Smit Patel and Akshdeep Nath average 39.50, 31.50 and 36.42 and 18 respectively. While left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra picked up 18 wickets for Delhi, Harmeet Singh, who was being pushed as the next big thing in Indian cricket, didn't feature for Mumbai even after he started the season for Rest of India and West Zone in the Irani Trophy and Duleep Trophy respectively. There are a few others who didn't even play a single game.

The only guy who stands out is Punjab's new ball bowler Sandeep Sharma, who has taken 41 wickets at 17.95. Incidentally, he was one of the underrated players of that World Cup-winning team, which tells us how incorrect our assessments could be with regards to youngsters. While most were predicting Chand, Harmeet and Aparajith to set the domestic season on fire, little did they realise that performances are a little difficult to replicate at the higher level immediately. Mostly, the younger lot is judged on potential based on few data points, for the sample size is too small, leaving a lot to everyone's imagination. One solid performance or one courageous response to a certain situation could be misleading and misinterpreted.

While it's important to give youngsters a go and also a long rope, it's equally prudent to hold your horses while making outrageous predictions about their immediate future. First-class cricket in India, however average its standard may be, remains the best breeding ground for upcoming talent, for the difference between Under-19 cricket and Ranji Trophy is huge. Ranji Trophy isn't the finishing school either, and frequent India-A tours must assume that responsibility. If we want to continue to grow as a cricketing nation, we need to get over this obsession with age-group tournaments, for they can only work as a feeder-line to first-class cricket, and not the route to the final destination.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Amit on February 6, 2013, 13:50 GMT

    I think you're a bit harsh on Harmeet, he's been unfairly left out of Mumbai squad (there's a LOT of regionalism here and he's not a Marathi). He needs to move to some other team.

  • Priyadarshan on January 24, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    Dear Akash, I am a huge fan of your writing and fully agree with what you have said.Only thing I would like to add is lets judge these youngstars after two or three years 1st class cricket.Media also should not hype too much. After all this is just the begining.

  • Jaspreet Singh on January 18, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    I think we need to have our young players experience county cricket. It would be great for the batsman in particular. For spinners, it will be new exposure and teach them a lot. And Zaheer has already shown how good time in county cricket can be for our seam bowlers.

  • Messi Barca on January 17, 2013, 20:58 GMT

    I am delighted that many readers have disagreed with Aakash Chopra's assesment, one reader @Jayaesh summed it up perfectly in his comments. Numbers are not everything and potential and class, big match temperament and anyways numbers of our u-19 players are not bad in first place !! i urge state associations to give more chances to our u-19 players and stop this practice of inviting guest players who hop from state to state in twilight of there careers and thus blocking the place of youngster.

  • Aakash Chopra on January 17, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for taking time out to go through the blog and also posting your valuable comments.

    Well, some of us are entirely missing the point that I'm trying to make. This post is not an attempt to undermine the Under-19 cricketers, but to simply point out that there's only so much you should read in Under-19 performances. Just because Tendulkar scored Test centuries in his teens, it doesn't mean that every promising teenager should be given a Test cap ahead of many other domestic performers. If the said 'promising cricketer' is really exceptional, I have no doubt in my mind that he'll soon outshine the domestic stars too.

    But it's imperative to wait for such a day and not start passing sweeping judgments about their future on the back of their exploits in Under-19.

    Playing for India is a huge honor and an India cap should be earned on the basis of performances (Ranji/Duleep/India-A etc.) and should not gifted on simple 'promise'.

    Thanks once again.

    Aakash Chopra

  • Rahul Bose on January 17, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    India can't afford to ignore talents who can perform in Aus or similar conditions. Performance in Ranji cricket is also a proven failed metric for assessing test success, unless one R Jadeja has scored a test triple while I was not looking.

  • Anilbthirtyone on January 16, 2013, 18:16 GMT

    Well said Akash. I like your newspaper column too. Harmeet Singh is a case of swollen head by getting success too soon.

  • Nitin S Rawat on January 16, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    Sandeep Sharma was always high on the cards. He's performed well not only in this U-19 World Cup but also the previous one, where he was one of our front-line bowlers with Unadkat, Menaria & Netravalkar. Not sure if he'd be able to delivery well on the bigger stage as he lacks pace and relies on swing, just like his contemporaries.

  • Ramesh on January 16, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar - under 19 - century at Perth. what can you say about that, Akash? you can there is only.one Sachin, blah blah blah, but you'll never know till a chance is given..

  • yougander reddy on January 16, 2013, 15:25 GMT

    i have a point here !! sandeep sharma eventhough my fav too apart from ishwar pandey !! the fact is tht sandeep sharma playd fr punjab on green tracks in mohali and those are bowler friendly conditions so what would tht say about ?? we saw how gud bhuvneshwar kumar was on debut on a seaming pitch but the next match he faltered whn he played on a pitch which dint favour the bowlrrs !!

    same goes for ishwar pandey of mp .we all know tht from past 2 yrs top wicket takers are from mp last yr it was sudhindra and this yr it is ishwar pandey !! and mp concentrates more on fast bowlers by preparing green tops in all their home games !!

    so sidharth kaul again from punjab ,anand rajan from mp these too are in top 5 wicket takers again !! so this all proves tht the top wicket takrrs hail from teams which make green tops and assist pacers

    just like saurashtra and maharashtra which makes flat tracks for their batsmen to make tons and triple tons !! example is jadeja and pujara making triple tons in rajkot pitches !!

    so first send ishwar pandey and sandeep sharma on india a tours and see where they end up !! we dont want another ishant sharma who used to bowl 152 kph before now struggling to bowl 138 kph thts pathetic !! and the biggest joke is ishant recently told tht he learnt to bowl inswinger recently after playing international cricketc frm past 6 yrs are u kidding me ??

    jalaj saxena and shami ahmed and bhuvneshwar kumar all done well in india a tours so they deserve their spots in ind team !!

    i seriously hope ishwar pandey and sandeep sharma make some serious progress in coming years and make our bowling stable luk strong !!

    luk at pankaj singh he is getting 5 fors on a batting track in jaipur !! same goes for uday kaul who averages 52 as a wicket keeper batsman on punjab green tops same goes for jeewan jot singh of punjab too !!

    i seriously hope that t.a.sekar of delhi dare devils shd become india's bowling coach !! he is the one who unearthed umesh yadav,aaron etc ., he deserves to coach our indian team bowlers !!

  • Amit on February 6, 2013, 13:50 GMT

    I think you're a bit harsh on Harmeet, he's been unfairly left out of Mumbai squad (there's a LOT of regionalism here and he's not a Marathi). He needs to move to some other team.

  • Priyadarshan on January 24, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    Dear Akash, I am a huge fan of your writing and fully agree with what you have said.Only thing I would like to add is lets judge these youngstars after two or three years 1st class cricket.Media also should not hype too much. After all this is just the begining.

  • Jaspreet Singh on January 18, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    I think we need to have our young players experience county cricket. It would be great for the batsman in particular. For spinners, it will be new exposure and teach them a lot. And Zaheer has already shown how good time in county cricket can be for our seam bowlers.

  • Messi Barca on January 17, 2013, 20:58 GMT

    I am delighted that many readers have disagreed with Aakash Chopra's assesment, one reader @Jayaesh summed it up perfectly in his comments. Numbers are not everything and potential and class, big match temperament and anyways numbers of our u-19 players are not bad in first place !! i urge state associations to give more chances to our u-19 players and stop this practice of inviting guest players who hop from state to state in twilight of there careers and thus blocking the place of youngster.

  • Aakash Chopra on January 17, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for taking time out to go through the blog and also posting your valuable comments.

    Well, some of us are entirely missing the point that I'm trying to make. This post is not an attempt to undermine the Under-19 cricketers, but to simply point out that there's only so much you should read in Under-19 performances. Just because Tendulkar scored Test centuries in his teens, it doesn't mean that every promising teenager should be given a Test cap ahead of many other domestic performers. If the said 'promising cricketer' is really exceptional, I have no doubt in my mind that he'll soon outshine the domestic stars too.

    But it's imperative to wait for such a day and not start passing sweeping judgments about their future on the back of their exploits in Under-19.

    Playing for India is a huge honor and an India cap should be earned on the basis of performances (Ranji/Duleep/India-A etc.) and should not gifted on simple 'promise'.

    Thanks once again.

    Aakash Chopra

  • Rahul Bose on January 17, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    India can't afford to ignore talents who can perform in Aus or similar conditions. Performance in Ranji cricket is also a proven failed metric for assessing test success, unless one R Jadeja has scored a test triple while I was not looking.

  • Anilbthirtyone on January 16, 2013, 18:16 GMT

    Well said Akash. I like your newspaper column too. Harmeet Singh is a case of swollen head by getting success too soon.

  • Nitin S Rawat on January 16, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    Sandeep Sharma was always high on the cards. He's performed well not only in this U-19 World Cup but also the previous one, where he was one of our front-line bowlers with Unadkat, Menaria & Netravalkar. Not sure if he'd be able to delivery well on the bigger stage as he lacks pace and relies on swing, just like his contemporaries.

  • Ramesh on January 16, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar - under 19 - century at Perth. what can you say about that, Akash? you can there is only.one Sachin, blah blah blah, but you'll never know till a chance is given..

  • yougander reddy on January 16, 2013, 15:25 GMT

    i have a point here !! sandeep sharma eventhough my fav too apart from ishwar pandey !! the fact is tht sandeep sharma playd fr punjab on green tracks in mohali and those are bowler friendly conditions so what would tht say about ?? we saw how gud bhuvneshwar kumar was on debut on a seaming pitch but the next match he faltered whn he played on a pitch which dint favour the bowlrrs !!

    same goes for ishwar pandey of mp .we all know tht from past 2 yrs top wicket takers are from mp last yr it was sudhindra and this yr it is ishwar pandey !! and mp concentrates more on fast bowlers by preparing green tops in all their home games !!

    so sidharth kaul again from punjab ,anand rajan from mp these too are in top 5 wicket takers again !! so this all proves tht the top wicket takrrs hail from teams which make green tops and assist pacers

    just like saurashtra and maharashtra which makes flat tracks for their batsmen to make tons and triple tons !! example is jadeja and pujara making triple tons in rajkot pitches !!

    so first send ishwar pandey and sandeep sharma on india a tours and see where they end up !! we dont want another ishant sharma who used to bowl 152 kph before now struggling to bowl 138 kph thts pathetic !! and the biggest joke is ishant recently told tht he learnt to bowl inswinger recently after playing international cricketc frm past 6 yrs are u kidding me ??

    jalaj saxena and shami ahmed and bhuvneshwar kumar all done well in india a tours so they deserve their spots in ind team !!

    i seriously hope ishwar pandey and sandeep sharma make some serious progress in coming years and make our bowling stable luk strong !!

    luk at pankaj singh he is getting 5 fors on a batting track in jaipur !! same goes for uday kaul who averages 52 as a wicket keeper batsman on punjab green tops same goes for jeewan jot singh of punjab too !!

    i seriously hope that t.a.sekar of delhi dare devils shd become india's bowling coach !! he is the one who unearthed umesh yadav,aaron etc ., he deserves to coach our indian team bowlers !!

  • Nampally on January 16, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    Aakash,I wonder how much to the Ranji Trophy performances or stats. contribute to any players ability or talent. These stats. are never considered in the selection of players for the Indian team.I can give many examples here. Mazumdar has broken all records with his batting for past several years yet he is never in consideration. At 38, this year he scored 6 centuries in Ranji.Nadeem is the best Indian spinner in the Ranji yet he is not even on the radar for Indian XI. As for the current U-19 team players, U.Chand is definitely one of the most promising batsman who always does well in big match. He may have scored half as many runs as J.Singh in Ranji but still a better talent.Sandeep Sharma has always been good for U-19 & in Ranji & definitely needs a serious look. Apart from these 2 rest of U-19 are not potential Indian stars.When Real World class batsmen like Pujara are benched by Dhoni, what chances do others have unless they have God-Fathers to Catapult them in Indian XI?.

  • sridhar on January 16, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    As mush as i appreciate reading ur articles and tweets, i somehow do not agree with this one. Firstly Unmukt chand was outstanding whenever he was under pressure in all the 4 tournaments the team played. He scored a hundred in 3 finals!! Sandeep Sharma, a huge potential for India in the future was never underrated in the team He is a shrewd thinker of the game and was a important contributor in planning and strategy. You must also realise that Smit Patel and Vihari(191 Vs Mumbai) have scored more than 500 runs in their first full season in Elite division while Rush kalaria was more than a handful with his all-round performance. At least 10 of the 15 members have made their presence felt for their teams and such young guns with BIG match temperament should be encouraged rather than shown in poor light. Prashant Chopra who opened with you has quite a destructive ability on his day. We should groom this talent and by giving them exposure.

  • n gopalkrishnan on January 16, 2013, 12:03 GMT

    Most of the youngsters are carried away by the media hype given & immediate comparisons are made with icons,you will agree sports in modern times is all in the mind,therefore they need to be exposed over a period of time before any judgement is passed,only SRT is an exception,take the case of Rahul,Saurabh,VVS all had to wait before they made their presense in the international arena,of the current lot Pujara has been around performing with consistency & it is paying dividends, one needs to have patience with youngsters

  • Suraj Nair on January 16, 2013, 11:13 GMT

    I have no personal grudge against you. You started as a great junior in your career and ended up running for a spot from Delhi to Rajasthan to Himachal Pradesh. You got a chance to play for India and did not hold on to it? How can you determine who is good and bad? Sandeep, Smit, Unmukt,Akshdeep Reddy, Aparajit & Jiwanjit are the best in India today. They could easily fit in to any team today.Throw out the older unfit player and start investing in youth for the future.

  • naren on January 16, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    I beg to differ though , reason being the bowlers should have being fast tracked in to the senior team considering how the other boards do. Plus the bowlers from the senior team are injured the under 19 bowlers would have being an ideal choice considering the situation in Test & one dayers the team needs players who are hungry to perform ...

  • Bijaya Raula on January 16, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    Mr.Akash,

    A lot of Indian domestic players are very successful in domestic circuit but fails to make a mark in international level bcz they are playing domestic cricket mostly in in flat tracks... so every successful domestic player might be a successful carrier in international level..but it is definitely need of domestic experience of every player...Unmukat chand had potential that we had seen him past consecutive U-19 tournaments...every player can not be a player like yuvraj singh who directly selected after U-19 World Cup win...so unmukut definitely needs the exposure in India A & Emerging tournaments other than domestic cricket, IPL & Champions Trophy....then ony he will be selected at top level..

  • Deepak Sholapurkar on January 16, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    Valid comments from Akash Chopra. I remember immediately after the under 19 world cup, there was a article from Ian Chappel recommending moving Chand and Harmeet Singh to higher level.

    Before hyping any talent, its better to wait for few years of Solid Performance.

  • Fair Commentor on January 16, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    Akash comments about Jeewanjot that "He played half of his Ranji matches on a green-top in Mohali, has scored 916 runs in nine matches. In any case, two centuries in 21 first-class matches doesn’t really speak volumes about a potential Test opener." Cmon Akash, Jiwanjot Singh is only 28 runs short of becoming the highest run-getter of the season and you say that he still has a long way to go....! This Doesn't look to be a fair assessment of this youngster, credit needs to be given where it is due.

  • Jayaesh on January 16, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    I am sorry i don't agree one bit with Aakash, i am a fan of his writing but lately i see whole lot of personal bias in his writing, off late he has been basing IPL, but if he was part of IPL squads regularly would he be still criticizing it.Now coming to u-19 stars,Unmukt Chand might have not scored heavily but we all know about his big match temperament and his technique on a real bouncy wickets in u-19 WC.i know when in a big ticket series in crunch situation i would trust the likes of Chand over domestic batters averaging 60, now coming to Aparaazith, he struggled but so did all Tamilnadu batsmen excepting Dinesh Kartick,Akashdeep Nath was given just one match on a seaming wicket where he top scored with 37 not out. Prashant Chopra outscored Akash Chopra for HP and scored with much faster strike rate .Harmeet Singh for no apparent reason was never given a chance for Mumbai while Smit Patel was among the leading run-makers for Gujarat. As Ian Chappel said if you make talented players play at lower level there performance level drops and there is no motivation level with hardly few spectators and no media spotlight at all for domestic maches.I feel state associations should give more chances to u-25 and u-19 cricketers in there squads instead of journeyman cricketers in late 20"s, late 30's who are going nowhere in there careers.Akash you should welcome new talents and not let your personal bias get in way.

  • Hem on January 16, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    Aakash, What about Smit Patel? He has played really well- opening for Gujarat. With Parthiv Patel being Captain he was unfortunate not to get the chance to keep wickets. But surely he has done enough to prove he belongs at this level and has the potential to go higher. Just because Unmukt Chand is an IPL Player, all the focus is on him and not on Patel.

  • Sushrut on January 16, 2013, 7:11 GMT

    Harmeet Singh is injured. Please get youru facts right. Also spinners take time to mature and peak. All the abovementioned players are still very very young. Give Unmukt another 2-3 years before commenting on his prospects of being selected for India. I am sure even Unmukt would not have expected to be included in the Indian team based on his performance in age group cricket. What we can assess in these players at this stage is whether they have got the basics right-their backfoot play, amount of time they have to play the fast bowlers, whether the spinner gets good drift etc.

  • Ujjwal Ingolikar on January 16, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    So glad that someone thought of coming out with such an article. We as the cricket fans look forward at some of these future Indian cricketers with some hope especially in these times. Glad you tracked them for the fans! Punjab seems to have some promising cricketers in their ranks.. Hopefully they would convert their potential.

  • here2rock on January 16, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    Aakash, you can not just look at the numbers. You have to go beyond the number, temperament, technique and ability to play on bouncy tracks. Unmukt Chand and Harmeet Singh both have qualities beyond just the numbers game.

  • vishak on January 16, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    but i thought baba aparajit played well...

  • Mohamed Salih on January 16, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    Timely Article. We were about to think what happened to the young lot who brought glory to India in Australia. Also needs to say we cannot assess the young lads with their performance in one Ranji season. Importantly, we should not hype their performance or non-performance above a certain level. Let them develop their natural game and grow up as skillful cricketers.. All the best guys !!

  • karthik on January 16, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    Sandeep sharma relly looks promising for next world cup 2015..he looks like gem of a swing bowler..must be very handy in australia and newzealand along with bhuwaneshwar kumar..hopefully he keeps up his swing..he swung prodigiously in worldcup-19 tournament

  • Satya on January 16, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    Well written Akash.. Love ur insights..Respect!!!

  • tushar27 on January 16, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    Aakash you are right, chand, aparajith, smit patel, sandeep sharma and harmeet singh all are potential players and they are next indian players but they still needs more domestic experience under their belt...

  • Ramachandra on January 16, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    Nice follow up Aakash. I think Unmukt was just 'decent' in the whole World Cup itself and he was hyped up after that incredible knock in the Final. People tend to get carried away after such knocks. Baba Aparajit is a good prospect though. He was consistent in the World Cup as well.

    Harmeet Singh probably needs to move from Mumbai. :)

    But one cannot expect all the 11 or 15 players from the World Cup squad to make the cut. Most will definitely miss out. There is also no doubt that Ranji Trophy with its continuous 4 day matches is much more demanding than the U-19 World Cup.

  • Sachin Chavan on January 16, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    Aakash, you miss the point that players like Unmukt Chand and Baba Aparajith performed in conditions down under. Unmukt has always been a scorer in those conditions. While the Ranji performers have performed on Indian wickets and conditions.

    Your logic of valuing Ranji performances over performances abroad (in age group cricket) is fraught with danger. We have had umpteen Ranji ton-makers fail at the highest level, while the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Virat Kohli (all were under 19 Indian players) have done well.

    When it comes to selecting India Team A, I feel the Under-19 international performances should be given more weightage than the domestic ones.

  • Unnikrishnan Valliyil on January 16, 2013, 2:09 GMT

    Hello Akash,

    I am an ardent admirer of all your articles and they really give an insight on all the machinations within Indian cricket. However, in this article; I really think we should compare apples to apples. U 19 World cup is an ODI and Ranji trophy is a four day game. So, I really think even if selectors wants to blood these youngsters. It should be in T20 and ODI formats. As there are lots of meaningless bilateral series happening; it should be an ideal platform to blood these youngsters

  • c kuppu on January 15, 2013, 23:58 GMT

    First of all Tell me we played u-19 World cup or U-24 World cup represented from the country as more than 13 players doesnt deserve to play in the world cup. In junior level so much of cheating is going on the age fudging. And why to have 50 overs format why not Unser-19 test matches for 5 days Many of the players wont even score more than 20 runs. With field restrictions all of these players score heavily and none of them are technically correct.

    C Kuppu

  • Anonymous on January 15, 2013, 20:55 GMT

    IPL contracts and the bucks they offer is the only thing that really matters. Ranji trophy / test match cricket are a joke meant for old timers only And if you don't believe me ask the likes of the triple century makers if they prefer an IPL deal or the tender mercies of the test selectors

  • VG on January 15, 2013, 20:46 GMT

    Interesting article. I saw Sandeep in U19 WC. Looked like Praveen Kumar...effective early on in the innings, later on - not so much. Depends on what speed you swing/seam the ball at I suppose. Hope Jiwanjot can replicate his performance next yr. Not sure how useful 12th man duty or spending many more years in Ranji would be if Gambhir holds on and Rahane/Sehwag are still pressing on. If you are a proven domestic player, their should be a circuit (of a combination of India A tours & county cricket perhaps) you should move on to for exposure to the international rigors/different conditions. Perhaps there should be an "exchange" program with other countries... Because India doesn't seem capable of fixing the issues with Ranji Trophy. The watered down teams; the lifeless tracks, reduce the predictive power of stats. Is it any wonder some talented U19 folks are shunted straight to the big league? Ideally national team should not be the training ground for the Ishaant Sharmas/Rainas though.

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  • VG on January 15, 2013, 20:46 GMT

    Interesting article. I saw Sandeep in U19 WC. Looked like Praveen Kumar...effective early on in the innings, later on - not so much. Depends on what speed you swing/seam the ball at I suppose. Hope Jiwanjot can replicate his performance next yr. Not sure how useful 12th man duty or spending many more years in Ranji would be if Gambhir holds on and Rahane/Sehwag are still pressing on. If you are a proven domestic player, their should be a circuit (of a combination of India A tours & county cricket perhaps) you should move on to for exposure to the international rigors/different conditions. Perhaps there should be an "exchange" program with other countries... Because India doesn't seem capable of fixing the issues with Ranji Trophy. The watered down teams; the lifeless tracks, reduce the predictive power of stats. Is it any wonder some talented U19 folks are shunted straight to the big league? Ideally national team should not be the training ground for the Ishaant Sharmas/Rainas though.

  • Anonymous on January 15, 2013, 20:55 GMT

    IPL contracts and the bucks they offer is the only thing that really matters. Ranji trophy / test match cricket are a joke meant for old timers only And if you don't believe me ask the likes of the triple century makers if they prefer an IPL deal or the tender mercies of the test selectors

  • c kuppu on January 15, 2013, 23:58 GMT

    First of all Tell me we played u-19 World cup or U-24 World cup represented from the country as more than 13 players doesnt deserve to play in the world cup. In junior level so much of cheating is going on the age fudging. And why to have 50 overs format why not Unser-19 test matches for 5 days Many of the players wont even score more than 20 runs. With field restrictions all of these players score heavily and none of them are technically correct.

    C Kuppu

  • Unnikrishnan Valliyil on January 16, 2013, 2:09 GMT

    Hello Akash,

    I am an ardent admirer of all your articles and they really give an insight on all the machinations within Indian cricket. However, in this article; I really think we should compare apples to apples. U 19 World cup is an ODI and Ranji trophy is a four day game. So, I really think even if selectors wants to blood these youngsters. It should be in T20 and ODI formats. As there are lots of meaningless bilateral series happening; it should be an ideal platform to blood these youngsters

  • Sachin Chavan on January 16, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    Aakash, you miss the point that players like Unmukt Chand and Baba Aparajith performed in conditions down under. Unmukt has always been a scorer in those conditions. While the Ranji performers have performed on Indian wickets and conditions.

    Your logic of valuing Ranji performances over performances abroad (in age group cricket) is fraught with danger. We have had umpteen Ranji ton-makers fail at the highest level, while the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Virat Kohli (all were under 19 Indian players) have done well.

    When it comes to selecting India Team A, I feel the Under-19 international performances should be given more weightage than the domestic ones.

  • Ramachandra on January 16, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    Nice follow up Aakash. I think Unmukt was just 'decent' in the whole World Cup itself and he was hyped up after that incredible knock in the Final. People tend to get carried away after such knocks. Baba Aparajit is a good prospect though. He was consistent in the World Cup as well.

    Harmeet Singh probably needs to move from Mumbai. :)

    But one cannot expect all the 11 or 15 players from the World Cup squad to make the cut. Most will definitely miss out. There is also no doubt that Ranji Trophy with its continuous 4 day matches is much more demanding than the U-19 World Cup.

  • tushar27 on January 16, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    Aakash you are right, chand, aparajith, smit patel, sandeep sharma and harmeet singh all are potential players and they are next indian players but they still needs more domestic experience under their belt...

  • Satya on January 16, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    Well written Akash.. Love ur insights..Respect!!!

  • karthik on January 16, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    Sandeep sharma relly looks promising for next world cup 2015..he looks like gem of a swing bowler..must be very handy in australia and newzealand along with bhuwaneshwar kumar..hopefully he keeps up his swing..he swung prodigiously in worldcup-19 tournament

  • Mohamed Salih on January 16, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    Timely Article. We were about to think what happened to the young lot who brought glory to India in Australia. Also needs to say we cannot assess the young lads with their performance in one Ranji season. Importantly, we should not hype their performance or non-performance above a certain level. Let them develop their natural game and grow up as skillful cricketers.. All the best guys !!