Four young cricketers from the region have reason to cheer as they have been named in the Indian squad for the U-19 World Cup. Batsmen Manan Vohra (Chandigarh) and Prashant Chopra,who plays for Himachal Pradesh but practices at the Sector 16 cricket stadium,and two Punjab pacers Sandeep Sharma (Patiala) and Kamal Passi (Amritsar) have also made it to the 15-member squad that will compete in the prestigious tournament in Australia in August.
Incidentally,all four cricketers were part of the Indian U-19 team that travelled to Australia in April to take part in the quadrangular series that India won beating the hosts in the final.
Expressing delight,Manan (18),back from Malaysia after taking part in the U-19 Asia Cup,told Newsline,It feels nice to be selected in such a mega event. More importantly,nearly the same players are part of the team that travelled to Australia two months back. So,it will be easy to adjust to the conditions there as we already know the pitches there. We did struggle there initially but we picked up and read the pitches. Winning the Youth World Cup in Australia would be like a dream come true. India has done it in the past and I hope we repeat it again. It will,however,be tough to face teams like Australia,New Zealand and England,who are used to playing on such bouncy and fast tracks.
If the current squad does win the World Cup,Vohra will be the third cricketer,from the city,after Yuvraj Singh and Siddharth Kaul,to be part of an U-19 World Cup winning team.
If Manans inclusion to the squad was expected,Prashants selection has come as a surprise as he was dropped from the team that played in Malaysia. Also an opener Prashant,whose father Shiv is a coach at the Sector 16 cricket stadium,is also a part-time leg spinner,and has represented Himachal Pradesh in the U-15,U-16 and U-19 age categories.
It is encouraging for me to be back in the team for the WC. I was little disappointed at not making it to the Asia Cup squad,but no regrets and I have set my eyes on the WC now. I wish to score well for my team and help India win, the 19-year-old said.