When U-19 star Ravi Kumar asked Virat Kohli: What’s your weakness?


When it was young pacemaker Ravi Kumar’s turn to ask the motivational guest Virat Kohli a question before the final of the U-19 World Cup in India, fell short. “I asked him what his weakness is. And he replied: ‘kyun abhi comes out karne ki training kar raha hai kya’ (laughs)?” Who better than Kohli to know all about the threat that fast new age Indians are capable of causing to jumping batsmen. England They were about to find out.

Raj Angad Bawa’s grandfather scored a hockey goal against England in India’s first Olympic Games after independence. The grandson of the 1948 hero cleared England’s top order in the final with a five in favor. Ravi Kumar’s father serves in law enforcement in India, while the son rocked England in the Under-19 final with a four for. Together, the teenagers unleashed fierce rebounds, clever leg slices, balls that bounced from a pitch, pitches that curved in the air and it was fitting that it all happened in the Caribbean, the spiritual home of fast bowlers, the land by Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose.

By the time the duo finished their opening spells, England were limping at 61 for 6 and were it not for a 95 from James Lew, whose first professional scalp as a county player was a lightning-quick strike to eliminate Cheteshwar Pujara, it would be They are over too quickly. Such was the cunning and venom of Bawa and Kumar after England chose to bat.


We could be in 2022 and the Indian senior team’s rhythm drummer is the envy of the world, but there’s still something about watching a young Indian knock out a batsman with a gorilla. Bawa attacked mid-level hitter George Bell with a snort that is destined to become one of the most viewed videos in the days to come.

Running with his hands twirling over each other like he was brewing a magic potion, he harassed England with a spell that had full range. Seam, swing and unnerving bounce. Bawa’s father, Sukhwinder, is a cricket coach who honed the skills of yuvraj singh and VRV Singh and would have been proud to see his son stun, shock and amaze England. All-rounder, he already has the highest individual score in the tournament and has also dazzled with his bowling.

A couple of years ago, George Bell’s father had said that it would be a little “scary” if his son faced running backs like Jofra Archer. He must have glimpsed that brutal world when Bawa kicked a ferocious ‘perfume ball’ as West Indian pacemakers used to call the gorillas of him. He flew at Bell’s throat, who raised his bat as a shield; the face was saved, the wicket was not as the ball grazed the outside rim.

It was left-hander Ravi Kumar who gave the English the first stab with a lovely pitch that sailed past left-handed starter Jacob Bethell to hit him hard in the back foot. He then had England captain Tom Perst cut off a pulling attempt on his stumps to leave England reeling at 18-for-2 in the fourth over. Bawa then caught four in quick succession to leave England breathless. He had George Thomas’ aggressive error on the decks, William Luxton caught him from behind before producing the ball of the final to eliminate Bell. The way his teammates pounced on him told a story.

He then produced a peach, kicking in from short, to produce a rushing jab from Rehan Ahmed that broke on slips.

If it wasn’t for left-footed James Rew, a wicket-keeper batsman for Somerset but playing only as a batsman here. In his first pro game for his county, with his parents and family in the audience, he came out playing a reverse sweep for 20. ‘That’s a shot I play and I’ll keep playing,’ he had said then and he hasn’t. It has been a surprise to see him display a lot of reverse sweeps in this tournament. He has a gutsy game across the board, alternating between Neil Fairbrother and Eoin Morgan, and with a combination of tenacity and innovation, he got England out of trouble.

Kumar would return to take two more wickets, including Rew, stuck on the edge just 8 under a hundred, and Bawa seized the opportunity to complete a five to eliminate the final English wicket. He had previously questioned Kohli about nerves in the finals. “He told us that there is nothing like the finals, every game gives your best. Express yourself on the ground and just enjoy the game.”

All this was achieved with the poise of experienced professionals. “The best part was that we weren’t thinking about the future, we were all in the present. We talked to Virat Kohli bhai and everyone asked him some questions. Few asked him about handling pressure and performing in big games. Then after that we all watched the 1983 movie together, it was kind of the motivation for us to win the final. We saw how the Kapil (Sir) team went to lift the title, it was a great motivation for us”, said Ravi.

Two boys from different backgrounds, Bawa with hockey and cricket in his blood, and Kumar, with a background of paramilitary parents, pushed India to another World Cup triumph.

Watching from the comment box was the son of someone who set the Caribbean shores on fire in the 1970s. However, Rohan Gavaskar, there as a commentator, wasn’t terribly surprised that it was India’s pacemakers rather than opening bats like Sunil Gavaskar, which made heads turn in the West Indies. “I think Indian pacemakers have been the best in the world in recent years. We’ve been producing some really good fast pitchers lately, so I wasn’t surprised to see another crop of good pitchers,” he said.

Unlike historical times when only the Indian quartets were feared, Gavaskar felt that it was the pacemakers who were at the forefront of the action. “I thought one of the strengths of this team was their bowling unit. Everyone knew the part of him and played it wonderfully. Pacemakers provided early breakthroughs and spinners later capitalized on it and made inroads with the middle order. That’s why they were able to eliminate teams in the World Cup. Credit to the coaching staff of Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Sairaj Bahutule and VVS,” he said.


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