The 13th edition of the ICC U-19 World Cup is scheduled to take place in South Africa from 17 January to 9 February. The opening fixture involves the hosts taking on Afghanistan at Kimberley.
16 teams are divided into 4 groups, with the top 2 teams from each group advancing to the Super League while the bottom 2 playing the Plate League.
The warm-up games are done and dusted, with teams trying out different combinations before the main event. Apart from the warm-ups, the recently concluded quadrangular series (including India, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and hosts South Africa) and the U-19 Asia Cup provided opportunities for the teams to prepare for the all-important World Cup.
As we are set for the main event to start, here we look at 5 bowlers to watch out for:
Also see – PSL points table
#5 Charlie Peet (Scotland)
Charlie Peet, the left-arm orthodox from Scotland, ran through the Japanese line-up in the warm-up games and ended with incredible figures of 6 for 2. Peet has a splendid record so far, with 20 wickets from just 6 games. He might turn out to be a surprise element for the more fancied opponents.
Accuracy being Peet's strength, teams that are not familiar with quality spin might find him tough to deal with. Peet will be tasked with the job of giving crucial breakthroughs in the middle overs.
#4 Adithya Ashok (New Zealand)
Adithya Ashok, the tall leg-spinner from New Zealand, resembles Ish Sodhi in his action. Ashok is a vital cog in the wheel for the Kiwis with his turning ball and ability to extract bounce off the wicket due to his height.
6 wickets in the 2 warm-up games, which followed 4 wickets in the recently concluded quadrangular series, make him the in-form wrist spinner in the tournament. Ashok can turn games on his own and will be New Zealand's premier wicket-taking option in the middle overs.
#3 George Balderson (England)
The English pace spearhead George Balderson has been in exceptional form coming into the World Cup. With 24 wickets under his belt in just 9 U-19 games, Balderson is a genuine wicket-taker and will be tasked with the job of providing wickets with the new ball.
With 4 wickets in the 2 warm-up games, Balderson has not been wicket-less in a single game so far. The medium pacer will play a key role in England's journey as he will shoulder the new-ball as well as death bowling responsibilities.
#2 Shoriful Islam (Bangladesh)
The tall left-arm medium pacer from Bangladesh is the spearhead of the Bangladeshi attack this World Cup.
Shoriful played a key role in Bangladesh's remarkable tie against the Aussies with figures of 4/39 in 7 overs. With 1 required to win for Australia with 2 wickets and 44 balls remaining, Shoriful cleaned up the tail in consecutive deliveries to end the game in a tie.
Not only in the warm-up games, but Shoriful was impressive with his knack of taking wickets in the U-19 Asia Cup 2019 too. A genuine wicket-taker, as evident from his List A record (46 wickets in 26 games at an average of 24.93), Shoriful can be crucial to his side's chances in the World Cup.
#1 Kartik Tyagi (India)
India's pace spearhead for the World Cup, Kartik Tyagi is one of the most promising pace bowlers to look out for this World Cup. The medium fast bowler becomes even more dangerous in conditions assisting swing, with an action somewhat resembling that of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
17 wickets under his belt in 10 games and 6 wickets in the 2 warm-up games show that his form going into the World Cup is fantastic. Tyagi will be pivotal to India's chances of defending their title.