Four U-19 performers to watch
A product of Under-16 the PCB's Hunt for Heroes Programme, Sami Aslam has built a name for himself as courageous left-hand opening batsman with the sound temperament required to score big runs. High concentration levels, the ability to control his nerves in tight situations and to execute in a disciplined manner have resulted in run fests, subsequently making him a vital part of Pakistan Under-19s' plans.
He was first selected for Pakistan Under-19s earlier this year for a tour to South Africa, and he delivered with 332 runs at 66.40 to take the Player of the Tournament award. He followed up with 207 against the visiting British Universities Team, and finished as the top-scorer in the Asia Cup in June-July, making 461 at 115.25. His sensational hundreds, both against India, earned him the best batsman and Player of Asia Under-19 Tournament awards.
Hailing from Lahore, Aslam first blossomed at the Punjab Club, where he practiced three times a day. He is yet to play first-class cricket, though National Bank of Pakistan has signed him up for the upcoming season. A chance at the top level in the near future is not an impossibility for Aslam, with the national selection panel keeping an eye trained on the country's budding talent.
- Umar Farooq
Not since Mark Boucher has a wicketkeeper been talked about in South Africa as much as Quinton de Kock. A product of the King Edward VII High School, which was also the place Graeme Smith was groomed, he is regarded as the most promising gloveman in the country, who is as good with the bat.
De Kock made his first-class debut with the Gauteng franchise three years ago. He was promoted to the franchise team in the limited-overs forms of the game, to which he is believed to be best suited because of his attacking strokeplay. He is particularly strong square of the wicket and has been spoken about as being in the mould of Adam Gilchrist. De Kock also has noticeable leadership qualities and has captained the national Under-19 side previously.
- Firdose Moonda
An aggressive opening batsman with an appetite for big scores, and an acrobatic wicketkeeper with a fearsome reputation, Niroshan Dickwella captained Kandy's Trinity College to eleven outright wins in the 2012 school cricket season, securing the All-Island Best School Team award in the process. Dickwella also became the schoolboy cricketer of the year, thanks to a prolific season with the bat and an equally impressive one behind the stumps - he also won the fielder of the year award.
He says he models himself on his idol, Kumar Sangakkara, who kept wicket and captained at the same school, but perhaps Adam Gilchrist might be a better comparison. Dickwella's 212 against Mahinda College in January - a record for the season - included 25 fours and a six, and came in 158 balls. Over the past two seasons, Dickwella has also built consistency into his game. He was the first batsman to cross the 1000-run threshold in the 2011 season, and he managed the milestone again in 2012, despite missing several matches through U-19 national duty.
Dickwella is yet to impress at the international level, having made only two half-centuries in 11 innings for the U-19 side. But with a staggeringly successful 2012 school season under his belt, and a belligerent mindset tailor-made for the limited overs format, Dickwella promises much for the World Cup.
- Andrew Fernando
An attacking left-hand opening batsman, who bowls offspin and has a calm never-in-any-hurry personality on the field - the similarities with Chris Gayle are just uncanny. Learning his cricket from his father and grandfather, John Campbell is determined to make his last year of U-19 eligibility a very special one. Coming into the World Cup, he is in good form too, hitting a century and two fifties on the Jamaica senior circuit.
As one of the two "senior" members of the squad, along with skipper Kraigg Brathwaite, Campbell understands the responsibility he has to shoulder for West Indies to have any success in the tourney. He anticipates his role in the team to be that of an "aggressor", to take on the opposition and let the younger, more inexperienced players have the freedom to play their natural game.
A product of the Holmwood Technical School and Tacky High, and a very talented cricketer from the outset, Campbell caught the eyes of the cricket community with his performances as a 15-year old in the All Island championship. He is knocking on the doors of the Jamaica team and is on the brink of gaining a place in the West Indies High Performance Center, which should provide him more structured training routines to sharpen his still somewhat raw abilities.
Campbell has learned from playing on the Jamaica senior circuit to be selective in his shot making. A safe catcher, and a very good fielder, Campbell is playing in his fifth U-19 tournament. He had a difficult time in the Youth ODIs held in India in 2011, scoring only one fifty and a few scores in the 20's, and is determined to make amends during this World Cup.
- Subash Jayaraman