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Harvey to Hridoy, Varma to Ashok: players to watch out for at the U-19 World Cup

Towhid Hridoy pulls International Cricket Council

Here's a list of players who could grab eyeballs at the upcoming Under-19 World Cup:

Vriitya Aravind (wicketkeeper-batsman, UAE)

Born in India but raised in the United Arab Emirates, Aravind is one of the few players in the tournament to have already played senior-level ODI cricket. His 53 against New Zealand in the warm-ups helped UAE upset their more fancied opponents and he followed it up with 98 against Japan to put himself in a good frame of mind going into the tournament proper.

Tilak Varma (batsman, India)

The left-handed batsman from Hyderabad was the top-scorer at the quadrangular series India played just before the World Cup warm-ups and has scored half-centuries in each of his last four games. He bats at No. 3, is a wristy batsman and isn't afraid to take on quality spin either. He first entered the limelight during the domestic U-16 tournament two years ago, where he finished as the highest run-scorer with 960 runs for Hyderabad.

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Jordan Cox (wicketkeeper-batsman, England)

He joined Kent at the age of 10, and at 18 he collected his professional contract at the county. He made his first-class, List A and T20 debut in 2018 and is one of the most experienced members of the England squad. The right-hander carried his bat for 122 in a 50-over match for the side against Bangladesh in the summer of 2019 and went on to be the second-highest run-scorer in the winter tri-series in Antigua, with another classy century against Sri Lanka.

Mackenzie Harvey (batsman, Australia)

The Australia captain, nephew of former international player Ian Harvey, first garnered global attention when he was selected for the Prime Minister's XI for a one-dayer against an England XI, where he thumped senior international bowlers like Mark Wood, Liam Plunkett and Chris Woakes for an unbeaten 48-ball 59 as a 17-year old in 2018. Since then, he has created some buzz in the Big Bash League as part of the Melbourne Renegades squad, when they won the title in 2019. He scored 55, 54* and 83* against New Zealand in his first outing as Australia captain.

Towhid Hridoy (batsman, Bangladesh)

If his average of 55 in the 2018-19 Dhaka Premier Division T20 tournament isn't impressive enough, Hridoy enters the competition having gained useful experience at the 2018 edition of the World Cup in New Zealand. His last nine scores read: 51*, 73, 8, 82*, 123*, 115, 111, 53 and 36. He's also a handy offbreak bowler and is the side's vice-captain.

Jonathan Bird (allrounder, South Africa)

Bird, a top-order batsman who bowls left-arm spin, has earned praise from Mkhaya Ntini, who called him "one of the greatest young players in South Africa." On his List-A debut for Western Province, he struck a century, showing he has the technique and temperament to play long innings. The left-hander is strong against the short ball and possesses a drool-worthy cover drive.

Dane Schadendorf (wicketkeeper, Zimbabwe)

The subject of one of the first viral cricket videos of 2020, Schadendorf follows the footsteps of elder brother Jayden who represented Zimbabwe in the 2018 edition. The younger sibling is acrobatic behind the stumps and has shown his ability to apply himself in the lower middle-order during the qualifiers. Case in point: his 81 against India earlier this week took Zimbabwe close to a win in a warm-up game last week.

Kartik Tyagi (bowler, India)

With 17 wickets in his last 10 youth ODIs - including back-to-back three-wicket hauls in the warm-up games, Tyagi is a fast bowler who is menacing with the swinging ball. He has a front-on action and has a bowling action reminiscent of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He'll be high on confidence after collecting an IPL contract with Rajasthan Royals, and will lead the attack for the defending champions. A warning for batsmen: protect your toes when this teenager from Uttar Pradesh runs in to bowl.

Adithya Ashok (bowler, New Zealand)

The tall, classical legspinner has taken eight wickets in his last three matches and gets the ball to turn menacingly with his Ish Sodhi-esque action. He's not afraid to flight the ball, and his height allows him to generate extra bounce as well. He also possesses the slider and the wrong'un, so batsmen will have to be wary while facing him. He's most dangerous when batsmen are looking to attack him, and will be used as New Zealand's primary wicket-taking option in the middle overs.

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Shoriful Islam (bowler, Bangladesh)

The lanky left-arm pacer from Panchagor in Bangladesh will be potent in conditions that offer something for seam bowlers. He set the U-19 stage on fire after taking a five-wicket haul against New Zealand in Lincoln late last year and has followed it up with a four-for against Australia in the warm-ups. He is one of the most experienced players in the World Cup, having played eight first-class games and 26 List-A matches, where he averages 22.50 and 24.93 respectively.

Charlie Peet (bowler, Scotland)

Against teams that are not familiar with top-quality spin, left-arm orthodox bowler Peet can be a handful. Against Jersey last year, he claimed 7 for 12 in Amsterdam and in the warm-ups finished with ridiculous figures of 6 for 2 against Japan. Not many opponents have seen Peet bowl, so the surprise element may find batsmen wanting. He's also very accurate, never conceding more than 35 runs in his youth ODI career.