Cricket Australia (CA) has named two players of Indian heritage, Harkirat Bajwa and Harjas Singh, as part of the Australian squad for the ICC Men’s Under 19 World Cup in South Africa.
The Youth Selection Panel (YSP) picked a 15-player squad following the conclusion of the 2023 Under 19 Male National Championships in Albury last week.
Their selection into 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.
Jason Wood MP, the shadow minister for multicultural affairs and a huge cricket lover, said in a post “this is great news.”
“Congratulations to Harkirat Bajwa and Harjas Singh who have made the Australian squad for the 2024 Men’s U19 Cricket World Cup. Australia is a great multicultural country with a love of cricket and it’s great to see the both come together.”
Harkirat is from Melbourne Cricket Club (Victoria) and Harjas is from Western Suburbs Cricket Club (New South Wales).
Harkirat’s family migrated to Australia from India in 2012 and at the age of seven he was initiated into backyard cricket by his uncle.
He is an off-spin bowler who was at one point was dropped from the under-12 district team due to an arm fracture. In 2020, Harkirat was due to play in the under-16 team but the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic struck and his playing career stalled.
In 2022, Harkirat was selected to play in the under-17 cricket world cup in the West Indies and has his eyes on to be selected for the Australian Men’s Cricket team.
Harjas too satrted playing competitive cricket at the tender age of eight as a substitute player at the Revesby Workers Cricket Club. Sports is in his genes with father, Inderjit, Punjab state-level boxing champion and mother, Avinder, a state-level long jumper.
The left-handed batsman became the 8th youngest teenager, at the age of 16, to score a hundred in Sydney’s (First) Premier Grade Cricket Competition, for his team Blacktown, against St George.
Harjas with his cool and confident style aims to play Test cricket for Australia.
Cricket Australia’s Head of National Development Sonya Thompson said in a statement:
“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”.
January’s World Cup will be held in South Africa after the ICC Board confirmed Sri Lanka would be replaced as hosts last month.
Australia’s Under 19 squad, to be coached by Anthony Clark, features a mix of promising talents from various regions.
Australia Under 19 World Cup squad: Lachlan Aitken, Charlie Anderson, Harkirat Bajwa, Mahli Beardman, Tom Campbell, Harry Dixon, Ryan Hicks, Sam Konstas, Rafael MacMillan, Aidan O’Connor, Harjas Singh, Tom Straker, Callum Vidler, Corey Wasley, and Hugh Weibgen.
Four non-travelling reserve players: Xander Buxton, Cameron Frendo, Ollie Peake and Cody Reynolds.
The upcoming World Cup is the 15th edition of the Under 19 men’s event and will have a revised tournament format, which includes a new Super Six stage after the Group stage to determine the semi-finalists.
Australia hasn’t won the men’s U19 World Cup since 2010, a side that was captained by Mitch Marsh. The team is expected to announce their captain closer to the tournament.
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