Jharkhand wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan will lead India's 15-man squad to the Under-19 World Cup to be held in Bangladesh early next year. Another left-hand wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who made his first-class debut for Delhi recently, was named vice-captain.
Kishan had recently led India to a series win in the Tri-Nation Under-19 Tournament, also involving Sri Lanka and England, in Sri Lanka. Barely two weeks before that, India had won a Tri-Nation Tournament involving Bangladesh and Afghanistan, in Kolkata.
The squad includes six batsmen apart from Kishan and Pant - Washington Sundar, Sarfaraz Khan, Amandeep Khare, Anmolpreet Singh, Armaan Jaffer and Ricky Bhui. Sundar had finished as the leading run-scorer of the tri-series in Sri Lanka, with 208 runs from four innings at an average of 52 with three fifties. No other India batsman score more than 130 runs.
Among the seven bowlers, India named four pacers - Avesh Khan, Shubham Mavi, Khaleel Ahmed and Rahul Batham. There were also three spinners - left-arm spinner Mayank Dagar and legspinners Zeeshan Ansari and Mahipal Lomror. Khaleel and Dagar had topped the wicket-takers' list with seven wickets each from two matches in the Sri Lanka tri-series.
"I think we've got a very good balanced side, especially for the conditions," Dravid, the coach, said. "We were looking for different kinds of skill sets. The fast bowlers have been quite exceptional in both the tournaments which has been a really good sign. We've got a couple of good spinners coming through as well and a lot of allrounders who can chip in especially in the spin-bowling department.
India are placed with Australia, New Zealand and Nepal in Group D and will play their first match against Australia on January 28 in Mirpur. Dravid said the margin for error under the present format was minimal. "We're in a pretty tough group. It's with two Full Member sides (Australia and New Zealand) and Nepal, who has done quite well in the Under-19 level. In a tight group like this with only three games there's actually no chance for even a single slip up."
Squad: Ishan Kishan (capt), Rishabh Pant (vice-capt), Washington Sundar, Sarfaraz Khan, Amandeep Khare, Anmolpreet Singh, Armaan Jaffer, Ricky Bhui, Mayank Dagar, Zeeshan Ansari, Mahipal Lomror, Avesh Khan, Shubham Mavi, Khaleel Ahmed, Rahul Batham