South African team keen to challenge itself in unfamiliar conditions
India Under-19 starts as the favourites against the visiting South Africa Under-19 side in the first unofficial Test which begins at the KCA-St. Xavier’s College ground here on Wednesday.
Home advantage and familiarity with the conditions give India the edge though it is altogether a new squad that will take the field against South Africa.
Seventeen-year-old opener Yashasvi Jaiswal, who was part of the squad which won the Under-19 Asia Cup in October last year, is the only player with prior experience of playing for the team. All others are new and have been selected based on their excellent performances in the Cooch Behar Trophy.
Making heads turn
Players like Vathsal Govind, who scored more than 1000 runs including a triple century, and Rex Singh, who took 10 wickets for Manipur in an innings, have made heads turn and are keen to continue in the same vein in the Test against South Africa.
Captain and wicketkeeper Suraj Ahuja was confident of his team’s chances against South Africa. “We want to start the tour with a win. I think we have a definite advantage as our players are familiar with the conditions and all of them have done well in Cooch Behar Trophy. Obviously we don’t know how good the South Africans are but we are pretty much confident of our abilities,” he said.
The South African team arrived in the city three days ahead of the Test match and has been practising hard at the venue and has adjusted to the climate and conditions here.
South African Captain Matthew Montogomery was happy with his team’s preparation but admitted that India had an edge.
The teams: India Under-19: Suraj Ahuja (captain), Divyaansh Saxena, Varun Nayanar, Avneesh Sudha, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Vaibhav Kandpal, Shaurya Saran, Hrithik Shokeen, Manav Suthar, Manishi, Sabir Khan, Anshul Kamboj, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Rohit Dattatraya, Rex Singh and Vathsal Govind
South Africa Under-19: Matthew Montgomery (captain), Luke Beaufort, Jonathan Bird, Achille Cloete, Gerald Coetzee, Marco Jansen, Thamsanqa Khumalo, Bonga Makaka, Andile Mogakane, Kgaudise Molefe, Lifa Ntanzi, Bryce Parsons, Siya Plaatjie, Ruan Terblanche and Nonelela Yikha.