India's flamboyant batsman Virat Kohli has admitted that his life completely changed after he inspired his side to victory in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2008.
"It remains a special thing that happened in my life. It changed life for me in a lot of ways. We all got recognised back home as the event was being covered live, and we won a very special match – we won the big final – and we got all got picked for the IPL," said Kohli, who with 235 runs, finished as the third most successful batsman in the tournament behind team-mate Tanmay Srivastava (262) and West Indies' Kieran Powell (253).
"To do well in an ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, which is being covered live, I think it's a great opportunity for young people to express their talents and it's from this event that people start looking at them. I think the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2008 set a great platform for me personally. It helped me in a great.
"For me, personally, winning the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup was the best thing that happened to me at that point of time. That was the biggest tournament we were going to play. It was a really special time in my life.
Three years later in Mumbai, Virat became the only the second India player after a charismatic Yuvraj Singh to add the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 title to his collection. Kohli scored 35 in the final and featured in an 83-run third wicket stand with Gautam Gambhir as India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets.
Reflecting on this distinction, Kohli said: "It obviously is good when you've won World Cups at both levels. I played only one of each, and we managed to win both, so it is a very special achievement for me. I've been lucky enough to be part of both World Cup winning teams."
Kohli praised the training the cricketers receive during this tournament. "The training the U19 players receive is wonderful. We all have anti-corruption training at the national academies in our respective countries. But I think education on anti-doping and the anti-corruption is very important for their careers so that they play the game in the right spirit and keep on concentrating on the game rather than on things that are corrupting the game and careers.
"I think it's a great experience all-in-all, and as far as the anti-corruption and anti-doping training are concerned, I think it's a great step to be taken during the World Cup so that guys can be educated about it and have the right information going forwards," he remarked.
Mitchell Marsh, who was one of the 13 players to score 200 or more runs in the 2010 tournament in New Zealand, said it was a special moment for him to lift the trophy after side defeated Pakistan in the final by 25 runs.
"It was very special for me. To be able to captain my country in a World Cup was an awesome achievement personally. (And) the way the team gelled over the three weeks and won the event was simply fantastic. To lift the World Cup trophy is something every kid wants to do and I was lucky enough to be chosen to do that. It's something I will always remember. It was very special.
"It was pretty surreal at the time when I lifted the trophy. We were quite lucky to win the game because we only set Pakistan 208 runs target but then took the last seven wickets for 72 runs. It was a very special performance by the side. To look around the whole group and to see the enjoyment that everyone had in their eyes, it was an awesome feeling."
Marsh said the tournament helped him and his team-mates tremendously in developing into better and improved cricketers. "I think the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup is a very big stepping stone. Any time you can get international experience, no matter what level it is, I think it's very good.
"And I think the fact that we won it gave all our players a lot of confidence. We've seen the majority of the players from that team go on and play for Australia, which doesn't always happen.
"I think it's a tribute to the team and how good we were, for blokes who didn't know each other to come together and do so well."