A team of players who played and excelled in ICC Under-19 World Cups overs the years, and has since continued to scale the heights in international cricket too.
Babar Azam played in two Under 19 World Cups – 2010 and 2012 – and finished as the third and second highest run-scorer respectively in the two tournaments, scoring a hundred apiece in the two events. Babar made his ODI debut three years after the second tournament, where he led the youth side and has since been one of Pakistan’s most prolific batters in all three formats. Babar has compiled more than 9,000 international runs and is now the Pakistan captain across all formats.
Kohli led India to an Under 19 World Cup title in 2008, making his name in the process as one of India’s most talented young batters at the time. His progress, since then, has been phenomenal. With over 23,000 runs and 70 international hundreds, Kohli has been recognised as one of the best all-format batters and one of the most successful captains in the modern game.
Steve Smith graced the 2008 Under 19 World Cup, playing as a middle-order batting all-rounder and finishing the tournament with seven wickets, including a 4/41 against Namibia, in four games with his leg-breaks. Smith, of course, turned into a batting giant later in his career and now has one of the best batting averages in Test history. He has nearly 13,000 international runs, including 38 hundreds, with his bowling taking a back seat.
Kane Williamson (c)
Like Smith and Kohli, Williamson played the 2008 Under 19 World Cup in Malaysia. While always touted to be one of the most talented young batters in age-group cricket, Williamson did not have an extraordinary tournament. However, two years later Williamson made his debut for New Zealand and has since been a batting mainstay for the side across formats. He also led them to the 2019 ODI World Cup final and 2021 T20 World Cup final, either side of helming their first-ever ICC title – the ICC World Test Championship in 2021.
Dinesh Chandimal (wk)
While his batting prowess did not quite come through in the Under 19 World Cup in 2008, Chandimal shone behind the stumps, taking five catches and executing seven stumpings. He has gone on to have a fine international career for Sri Lanka. He made over 8,000 international runs, while also recording 174 catches and 23 stumpings. Having made his international debut at 21, Chandimal hit his straps quickly in ODIs, scoring a hundred in just his second game.
One of the most prolific batters in U19 World Cup history, Eoin Morgan was a shining light in Ireland's 2006 campaign, going toe-to-toe with Cheteshwar Pujara in the runs column.
Holding a British passport through his mother, Morgan made the switch to England, permitted at the time given Ireland's then-Associate status. Making his debut for England in 2009, Morgan took time to find his feet in the senior Full Member game, but soon moved into leadership roles through the early 2010s, leading the way in England's revolutionary white-ball play.
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.
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