On February 4, we witnessed a mini Punjab at Mount Maunganui during the U-19 Cricket World Cup Final. India U-19 team led by Prithvi Shaw beat a formidable Australia U-19 by 8 wickets but did you count the number of Punjabi teenagers who took to the field? Five! The irony is that among the five Punjabis, two of them donned the yellow jersey! Param Uppal and Jason Sangha were the two Aussies who played at the summit clash.
So who were the Indians among the Punjabis?
The three Indians were Shubman Gill, Abhishek Sharma and Arshdeep Singh.
Jason Sangha: The Australian captain can trace his roots back to Nawanshahr. The 18-year-old played an inspirational role in Australia’s road to the finals. In the finals, he was dismissed for 13. He could not contribute big or else things could have been very different on the field.
Shubman Gill: The toast of India and the Player of the Tournament was in an astounding form throughout the tournament. He was one of the biggest factors for the success of Team India. The Fazilka-born has also bagged a handsome deal from Kolkata Knight Riders during the IPL Auctions 2018. He got onboard for a whopping Rs 1.80 Cr. This kid has a bright future ahead!
Param Uppal: The 19-year-old all-rounder, like his captain, has his roots in Chandigarh. In the summit clash he came in handy with the bat, he scored a valuable 34 and picked up the vital wicket of Shubman Gill. This Punjabi is ticking the right boxes and could very soon be making transitions into the senior game.
Arshdeep Singh: The Kharar-born with a whippy action can prove to be a handful. The 6’2’’ ft tall bowler has the right attitude and game, he missed out on the final but was as much a part of the team as anyone else. This is one Punjabi you should keep an eye on!
Abhishek Sharma: The 17-year-old from Amritsar is a bowling all-rounder. He may not have played a big part in the Finals, but he showed glimpses of how effective he can be with both the bat and the ball. He has been an asset to the team. He also got a 50 against Bangladesh, which was a testament to his batting prowess.
India won the match and in the process, lifted the coveted crown. But the level of cricket we witnessed gave us a peek into what the future of Indian cricket looks like, and it is evident it looks damn exciting!