Rajasthan Boys Akash, Ravi named on the U19 World Cup team

JAIPUR: It turned out a bright Monday for Rajasthan cricket as two state bowlers, Ravi Bishnoi and Akash Singh , reached the team of 15 members of the U19 World Cup announced by the BCCI. The team will be led by Priyan Garg.

The biennial event will be contested in South Africa between January 17 and February 9 in 2020. Rajasthan has contributed to the India Under-19 team on a consistent basis in the last four years. In 2016, Mahipal Lomror and Khaleel Ahmed made the state proud, while in 2018 it was Kamlesh Nagarkoti's turn.

After being benched during a domestic Under-16 tournament, leg-spinner Ravi was asked by his father to leave cricket for good. But as destiny had it, Pradyot Rathore and Sharukh Pathan, his coaches in Jodhpur's Spartan Academy managed to convince Ravi's father. "Results were not coming and my father asked me to quit cricket. Thankfully my coaches showed faith in me and managed to convince my father to allow me some more time to prove myself. I am very happy as this is the first step towards the bigger goal of representing Team India," said 19-year-old Ravi who is part of the Under-19 India camp currently underway at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore along with Akash.

Rathore, who has represented Rajasthan at the Under-23 level, said that he spotted Ravi while he himself was training for a match. "He used to bowl medium pace then. He was short-heighted and I felt his action was suited more for leg-spin. He was then 8-9 years old. I and Sharukh saw spark in him and decided to invest time on him and gave him all the facilities for free so that there is no financial burden on his family. We are really happy that our efforts have come to fruition," said the head coach of Spartan Academy.

Left-arm fast bowler Akash Singh 's coach Vivek Yadav is also proud of his ward and feels his pace and inswinging ability will separate him from the rest. "I am really happy for him. But, given the kind of hard working kid Akash is, the news of his selection has not come as a surprise to me," said Yadav, who coaches him at Aravali Cricket Academy in Jaipur since the time he was 13. The pacer from Bharatpur started playing cricket at the age of nine and was never short of support from parents. "Initially there were financial difficulties, but Yadav sir helped me out. It was Bharatpur DCA secretary Shatrughan Tiwari who had asked me to move to Aravali academy," said the 17-year-old.

Two years back, in an open tournament held in Jaipur, Akash had recorded figures of 10 for 0 which proved the turning point of his career. This was followed by selection in the Under-16 state team and Under-19 India team.

The Rajasthan duo also made the cut in the Under-19 team for the South African tour, seen as a preparation before the World Cup, where they will play three games of more than 50 against the Proteas.

Expressing delight, Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) president Vaibhav Gehlot tweeted, "Happy to know that cricketers Akash Singh and Ravi Bishnoi from #Rajasthan have been selected in India's U-19 Team for World Cup. Heartiest congratulations to both of you!!"

Equipment: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Divyansh Saxena, Priyam Garg (C), Dhruv Chand Jurel (VC&wk), Shashwat Rawat, Divyansh Joshi, Shubhang Hegde, Ravi Bishnoi, Akash Singh, Kartik Tyagi, Atharva Ankolekar (Kumar) Kumar (Kumar) , Sushant Mishra, Vidyadhar Patil