Harvik Desai, the wicket-keeper batsman who hails from Bhavnagar in Saurashtra, played a steller role in India's victory in the U-19 final. On Saturday, India thrashed Australia by eight wickets at Mount Maunganui in New Zealand to bring home the U-19 ICC World Cup for the record fourth time. Prior to this, India and Australia had won the tournament thrice.
Though all eyes were on star players like captain Prithvi Shaw, opener Manjot Kalra, Shubman Gill and pacers Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Ishan Porel and Shivam Mavi, the 18-year-old Desai first shone with three catches and effecting a run out of his counterpart Baxter Holt before compiling an unbeaten 47. Desai also helped opener Manjot Kalra complete his century.
Desai's family members were elated with his contribution. His father Manish Desai, who runs a tailoring shop in Bhavnagar said, “I have initially struggled to support my son in his passion, especially buying kit and accessories.” However, it was his exploits on the ground which convinced the neighbours to persuade his parents to send him for further coaching. His first coach Narendrsinh Gohil said, “One thing that I vividly remember is that he was very punctual and disciplined when he first took up this game at the age of nine.”
His performance in the tournament decider didn’t disappoint his coach. “Today he has proved to be a very reliable wicket-keeper batsman for the country,’’ said Gohil, who is also the secretary of the Bhavnagar District Cricket Association. “His keeping has improved a lot and from an attacking batsman, he has become a more matured cricketer who plays according to the demand of the situation,” he further stated. Saurashtra Cricket Association joint-secretary Madhukar Worah too praises Desai’s performance. “Desai has been performing exceedingly well over the last couple of years and we have a lot of hope on him,’’ said Worah.