The ICC under-19 world cup is held every two years. After the first ever under-19 world cup in 1988, as Youth World Cup the second edition of the event was held in South Africa in the year 1998 after a huge gap of ten years. Since then the event is organized every two years and is a breeding ground for many young talents. Teams such as India and Australia have both won the U-19 world cup three times, while Pakistan has won twice and South Africa, West Indies, and England once each. Last it was held in 2016 in Bangladesh where West Indies took the U-19 world cup trophy. Over many years it has been a gateway for many young and talented cricketers.
Let’s have a look at few young players who are now the most successful players in the international circuit after their U-19 world cup success:
1. Virat Kohli
No wonder why you see this name on the top. As a captain after winning the under-19 world cup in 2008 in Malaysia, he is currently the captain of the senior Indian side. He was promoted to the senior team the same year he led U-19 team to the world cup victory. Virat Kohli has already proved why he is one of the best players in the world as he is also leading current senior Indian team. He was also the part of the senior world cup victory and scored over 9,000 runs and 32 centuries in 202 ODI’s. He also has good numbers in Test cricket with 2,200 runs in 63 Test games which include 20 centuries. He might end up breaking some big-time records as he is already considered as the modern greats of the game.
2. Hashim Amla
Everyone know Hashim Amla as a solid batsman in all the formats of the game. He is also very popular for his calmness when he bats. Amla was the captain of the U-19 South African team which lost to Australia in the finals in 2002 U-19 world cup in New Zealand. It was not so quick for Amla like Kohli to make it into the senior side but once there, he did not take much time to prove himself with some convincing performances. At first, Amla was believed to the player best for Test cricket but he soon broke that myth in the year 2010 when he scored over 1,000 runs for South Africa in both ODI’s and Test cricket. Currently, Amla opens for his country and has scored more than 7,000 runs in 158 ODIs which includes 26 centuries. He also has scored more than 8,500 runs in 112 matches. His one of the best innings was against England in 2012 where Amla scored 311 not out, lasting 13 hours and 10 minutes at the Oval. He is currently one of the finest cricketing players in the world.
3. Sanath Jayasuriya
Sanath Jayasuriya was one of the classic players of his days. His name alone was enough to send shivers down the spine of the blowers. He was a part of the Sri Lankan team in ICC U-19 world cup which was held in Australia in 1988. He was later picked up for Pakistan tour with Sri Lanka ‘B’ team, where he scored two double centuries. Shortly after that, he was playing for the national side with the senior Sri Lankan team. He is well known for his destructive batting as he with his opener partner, Romesh Kaluwitharana in a way introduced pinch hitting to the world in the 1996 world cup. He has played 445 ODIs scoring 13,430 runs which included 28 centuries and picked up 323 wickets while bowling his slow left armers. He also holds a decent Test record with 6,973 runs playing 110 Test matches. He played until the age of 42 giving out some of his best performances.
4. Brian Lara
This man needs no introduction at all. The prince of Trinidad is one of the most iconic players of all-time. Cricket is incomplete with his name as he is one of the legendary players to make it to the senior West Indies team from the junior world cup. Lara was the captain of the U-19 West Indian team that played U-19 world cup in Australia. He made his debut in the senior West Indies side in 1990 as was well known for making massive scores in the longer format at will. He scored 375 and 501 to break the world records for highest Test and first-class scores in the year 1994. In just six months after Matthew Hayden broke his record for highest Test score in 2003 against Zimbabwe, Lara scored 400 not out against England. He has scored 11,953 runs in 131 Tests at an average of over 50 with 34 centuries. This also makes him seventh highest run-scorer in Tests. Lara also had a mind-blowing ODI career where he scored 10,405 runs in 299 matches with 19 centuries. He is one of most legendary players of all-time.
5. Yuvraj Singh
How can one forget YUVI as he was India’s first U-19 star? He was a part of the Indian team that won the 2000 U-19 world cup in Sri Lanka. Mohammad Kaif was leading the Indian U-19 team where Yuvraj was declared the player of the series. YUVI was a part of the senior side the very next year, this was because of his promising performances in the U-19 tournament. In the year 2002 India were down to 146/5 while chasing 326 in the Natwest trophy in England. It was a crucial time for India when young Yuvraj and Kaif played a match-winning knock. Yuvraj scored solid 69 which took India home. This was one of the biggest moment for Yuvraj at an early stage of his career.
World cups have always been special for YUVI. No can forget the T20 world cup 2007 in South Africa where he took everyone by storm by hitting six sixes in an over to young Stuart Broad in quarter-final against England. It was again a big tournament, world cup 2011 where he excelled with both bat and ball. He scored 419 runs and took 15 wickets helping India to win their second world cup. He is known as one of the most destructive players of all-time.
He was ‘The Gentle Giant’ in the Pakistan side who transformed into a monster once he had the bat in his hand. He was a part of the Pakistan U-19 team 1988. Inzamam made his debut for the senior one-day side in 1991 against West Indies. Handpicked by former Pakistan captain Imran Khan for the 1992 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, 22-year-old Inzamam was relatively unheard of before the tournament. He is the leading run-getter for Pakistan in ODIs, scoring 11,739 runs in 378 games which includes 10 centuries. Inzy was also the captain of the Pakistan team from the year 2003-07. He has 25 centuries on his name in Test for Pakistan, scoring 9,000 runs in 120 Tests. He scored 329 in the year 2001-02 against New Zealand in Lahore, which is the second highest Test score by a Pakistani cricketer.
7. Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook played for the English U-19 team which participated in the 2004 event in Bangladesh. England was out of the tournament in the semi-final, but Cook went on to become the second highest run-getter in the tournament. It took two years for Cook to mark a debut to the senior side. He played his first Test for England against India in the year 2016 in Nagpur. His Test records tell the whole story as he has scored 12,005 runs with 32 centuries in 152 matches. He is the highest run-getter for England in Tests. Though his ODI career is not so convincing as he has scored 3,204 runs with 5 centuries in 92 ODI’s. He is still going strong playing for England.