Tauranga (New Zealand), Jan 13: The second day of the ICC Under-19 World Cup will witness the much-anticipated battle between three-time champions India and Australia in their Group B opener at Mount Maunganui here on Sunday.
They are the two most successful teams in U-19 World Cup history, having each won the tournament three times apiece, and both have brought sides stacked full of top-class players, many of whom have already had success against high-class opposition.
For both teams, it’s a case of which one decides to show up. Both have veered between excellent and poor in the last 12 months, with little middle ground.
The Rahul Dravid-coached Indian colts stormed through two five-match series against England, losing just once and winning eight, with one game being tied.
But the Under-19 Asia Cup was a huge disappointment, as the Indians lost to minnows Nepal and Bangladesh and crashed out at the group stages.
Australia similarly had a 4-1 series victory set against a 2-0 reverse against Pakistan.
Both teams had notable absentees when they struggled — the likes of Jason Sangha for Australia, and Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill for India — but they will still be desperate to put those memories behind them with a strong opening performance in the World Cup opener.
India: Prithvi Shaw (Captain), Shubman Gill, Aryan Juyal, Abhishek Sharma, Arshdeep Singh, Harvik Desai, Manjot Kalra, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Pankaj Yadav, Riyan Parag, Ishan Porel, Himanshu Rana, Anukul Roy, Shivam Mavi, Shiva Singh.
Australia: Jason Sangha (Captain), Will Sutherland, Xavier Bartlett, Max Bryant, Jack Edwards, Zak Evans, Jarrod Freeman, Ryan Hadley, Baxter Holt, Nathan McSweeney, Jonathan Merlo, Lloyd Pope, Jason Ralston, Param Uppal, Austin Waugh.