The Upstox Then and Now X
Over the years, a group of players has played and succeeded in ICC Under-19 World Cups, and has subsequently gone on to achieve greatness in international cricket.
Babar Azam participated in two Under 19 World Cups, in 2010 and 2012, and was the third and second top run-scorer in both competitions, scoring a hundred runs in each. Babar made his ODI debut three years after leading Pakistan’s young team in the second tournament, and has since become one of the country’s most prolific batsmen in all three forms. Babar has more than 9,000 international runs under his belt and is presently the skipper of Pakistan in all forms.
Kohli led India to the Under 19 World Cup win in 2008, establishing himself as one of the country’s most gifted young hitters at the moment. Since then, he has made incredible improvement. Kohli is regarded as one of the finest all-round batsmen and one of the most successful leaders in the modern game, having scored over 23,000 runs and 70 international hundreds.
Steve Smith starred in the 2008 Under 19 World Cup as a middle-order batting all-rounder, taking seven wickets in four games, including a 4/41 against Namibia, with his leg-breaks. Smith, of course, went on to become a batting legend later in his career, with one of the finest hitting averages in the game.
Kane Williamson (c)
Williamson, like Smith and Kohli, competed in the 2008 Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia. Williamson, although being regarded as one of the most outstanding young hitters in age-group cricket, did not have a very successful campaign. Williamson, on the other hand, made his debut for New Zealand two years later and has since been a batting staple for the team in all formats. He also guided them to the finals of the 2019 ODI World Cup and the 2021 T20 World Cup, on the heels of their first-ever ICC championship, the ICC World Test Championship, in 2021.
Chandimal, Dinesh (wk)
While Chandimal’s batting skill was lacking at the 2008 Under 19 World Cup, he impressed behind the wickets, grabbing five catches and performing seven stumpings. He went on to play for Sri Lanka at the international level. He amassed over 8,000 international runs and added 174 catches and 23 stumpings to his resume. Chandimal, who made his international debut at the age of 21, had an immediate impact in one-day internationals, hitting a century in only his second game.
The Zimbabwean legend, who just announced his retirement from international cricket, had a fantastic experience at the Under 19 World Cup, appearing in both the 2002 and 2004 tournaments and scoring hundreds in each. He was playing Test and ODI cricket for the senior squad two months after the second event. Taylor hit 17 hundreds and scored 9,938 international runs, the highest by a Zimbabwean after the Flower brothers. In the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia-New Zealand, he set a personal best by scoring 433 runs at an average of 72.16, including two hundreds.
The skipper of West Indies’ World Cup-winning Under 19 team in 2016, Shimron Hetmyer made a crucial 60 in the semi-final of the tournament against Bangladesh to display his talent in front of a world audience. Earmarked as a limited-overs talent right then, Hetmyer has already played more than 100 international games for the West Indies.
Like Hetmyer, Mehidy, skipper of Bangladesh Under 19 side in the 2016 edition of the tournament, made a mark in the semi-final game against West Indies, recording a 60 from No.6 and later taking two wickets after opening the bowling. He finished with 12 wickets in the tournament and also recorded four fifties. Making his international senior debut the same year, Mehidy has 178 international wickets and more than 1,000 Test runs after six years in the international circuit.
Having played in the 2008 Under 19 World Cup, Chris Woakes went on to forge a successful international career with England, recording over 1,000 runs in Tests and ODIs and taking 292 international wickets since making his debut for the senior side in 2011.
One of Pakistan’s standout seamers today, Shaheen Afridi enjoyed a terrific tournament in 2018, picking up 12 wickets at an average of 14.58, including a stunning 6/15 against Ireland. Months after the tournament, Shaheen made his senior team debut in all three formats and now has over 150 international wickets. He is now the No.4-ranked Test bowler in the ICC Rankings.
The star of the 2014 Under 19 World Cup that South Africa won, Kagiso Rabada is one of the leading fast bowlers in world cricket today, ranked No.6 in Test cricket and No.10 in ODI cricket in the ICC Player Rankings. Aged 26, Rabada already has close to 400 international wickets. He made his mark in the 2014 tournament where he took 14 wickets, including a stunning 6/25 in the semi-final win over Australia. He made his ODI debut a year later, taking a hat-trick and recording figures of 6/16 on debut against Bangladesh.