Cricket Australia’s Youth Selection Panel (YSP) has announced the inclusion of two players of Indian heritage, Harkirat Bajwa and Harjas Singh, in the 15-member squad for the upcoming 2024 Men’s Under 19 Cricket World Cup. The selection follows the conclusion of the 2023 Under 19 Male National Championships held in Albury last week.
The inclusion of Bajwa and Singh not only underscores the rich diversity within Australia’s cricketing talent pool but also highlights the growing influence and contribution of players with Indian roots in the country’s cricket landscape.
Australia’s Under 19 squad, to be coached by Anthony Clark, features a mix of promising talents from various regions. The squad was finalized after assessing performances in the recent national championships and taking into account the players’ development during tours of England and Sri Lanka.
The 2024 Men’s Under 19 Cricket World Cup, scheduled to take place in South Africa in January, gained additional significance after the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed a shift from Sri Lanka as the host nation last month.
The selected players represent a diverse array of cricketing backgrounds, with Bajwa and Singh standing out for their Indian heritage.
Sonya Thompson, Cricket Australia’s Head of National Development, expressed her excitement about the talent displayed during the Under 19 Male National Championships. Thompson congratulated NSW Metro on their victory and emphasized the excellent development opportunity that the upcoming Under 19 World Cup presents for the selected players.
Thompson stated, “The National Youth Selection Panel worked closely with State Talent Managers to select the World Cup Squad. Consideration is given to performances across a variety of competitions. Many of those in the World Cup squad also had development opportunities during tours to Sri Lanka and England this year”.
While acknowledging the challenges of making selection decisions, Thompson affirmed Cricket Australia’s commitment to supporting and monitoring the development of all players within their pathway systems.
In 2012, Harkirat Singh Bajwa relocated from India to Melbourne. At the tender age of seven, he initiated his cricketing journey in the backyard, honing his skills alongside his uncle. Having traversed from exclusion from the under-12 district team to earning a spot in the under-19 World Cup squad, Bajwa’s cricketing journey stands as both challenging and inspiring.
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Harjas Singh was initiated into the realm of professional cricket during his formative years. Commencing at the age of eight, he began his journey as a substitute player at the Revesby Workers Cricket Club in the local community. From that point onward, the left-handed batsman’s trajectory has been one of continuous progress. As his skills matured and his game gained strength, several cricket clubs approached him, marking the beginning of new opportunities in his burgeoning cricketing career.
As Australia prepares to embark on its journey to South Africa, the inclusion of Bajwa and Singh not only adds a unique flavour to the squad but also represents a significant step forward in recognizing and celebrating the diverse cricketing heritage within the nation. Cricket enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the performances of these talented young players as they prepare to showcase their skills on the global stage at the Under 19 World Cup in January 2024.
Australia Under 19 World Cup Squad:
Lachlan Aitken (QLD – Gold Coast District Cricket Club)
Charlie Anderson (NSW – Northern District Cricket Club)
Harkirat Bajwa (Indian heritage) – (VIC – Melbourne Cricket Club)
Mahli Beardman (WA – Melville Cricket Club)
Tom Campbell (QLD – Western Suburbs District Cricket Club)
Harry Dixon (VIC – St Kilda Cricket Club)
Ryan Hicks (NSW – Mosman Cricket Club)
Sam Konstas (NSW – Sutherland Cricket Club)
Rafael MacMillan (NSW – St George District Cricket Club)
Aidan O’Connor (TAS – Greater Northern Raiders)
Harjas Singh (Indian Heritage) (NSW – Western Suburbs Cricket Club)
Tom Straker (NSW – Sutherland District Cricket Club)
Callum Vidler (QLD – Valley District Cricket Club)
Corey Wasley (WA – Rockingham-Mandurah Cricket Club)
Hugh Weibgen (QLD – Valley District Cricket Club)
Non-travelling reserve players:
Xander Buxton (VIC – Melbourne Cricket Club)
Cameron Frendo (NSW – Fairfield Liverpool Cricket Club)
Ollie Peake (VIC – Geelong Cricket Club)
Cody Reynolds (QLD – Gold Coast District Cricket Club)