Out of the 15 names that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said will make up the squad that will travel to South Africa for the Under-19 World Cup in January, five hail from Uttar Pradesh and three of them are representing the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association itself.
This includes the captain, Priyam Garg. The 19-year-old, who learnt his craft in Meerut, smashed 867 runs for UP in his maiden Ranji Trophy campaign last season. This included one double hundred, two centuries and five fifties.
"My father did most of the hard work, he did all the odd jobs that you can imagine… selling milk, driving school vans, loading goods, he ensured that I got a good life. He went through all that just to see me become a cricketer one day. He took me to Meerut and made sure that I got into a decent academy," Garg was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
Garg's deputy will be wicketkeeper Dhruv Chand Jurel, who previously captained the U-19 squad to victory at the Asia Cup, and is the son of a Kargil war veteran from Agra. His father initially wanted him to join the National Defence Academy (NDA) but respected Dhruv's decision to become a cricketer. "Initially, my father tried to change my mind but later understood and helped me chase my dreams. Whatever I am today, it is because of my father," Dhruv was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
Fast bowler and all rounder Divyansh Joshi has already carved a bit of history for himself by becoming the first from any of the northeast states to represent India in a World Cup at any level. The 18-year-old seems to have got in the good books of the selector through his performance for Mizoram in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy.
Interestingly, he was rejected by the powers that be in the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association for the state's U-19 camps. Divyansh had represented UP at the U-15 and U-16 levels and decided to register for other teams as a professional cricketer after the snub in UP, according to The Times of India. His skill with the ball and the ability to bat lower down the order is what prompted the selectors to give him the nod for the World Cup.
Yashasvi Jaiswal is the son of a shopkeeper in Badohi near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and came to Mumbai at the age of 11. He lived in a tent adjacent to the Muslim United Sports Club for three years, selling pani puris and fruits at Azad Maidan to sustain himself.
In 2015, he smashed 319 and registered bowling figures of 13 for 99 in the Giles Shield Cricket Tournament in Mumbai to set a record for the highest score and most wickets in a match in a school-level competition. Playing for Mumbai in the Vijay Hazare Trophy this year, Jaiswal set the record books ablaze by scoring 564 runs at a staggering average of 112.80. This included one double hundred, three hundreds and a fifty.
All-rounder Kartik Tyagi hails from Hapur. His performances for the state at the U-16 level got him a place in the Uttar Pradesh Ranji squad. He was part of the Indian U19 teams that played an ODI tri-series in England in July and August and which hosted Afghanistan U19 in Lucknow in November.