Over the years, the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup, the next edition of which starts in New Zealand on January 13, has given the cricket world its introduction to several players who have gone on to become stars for their countries. One such player is Yuvraj Singh, the India all-rounder, who was Player of the Tournament back in 2000 when India, under Mohammad Kaif, won the title.
Looking back at his time with that team in Colombo, Yuvraj, 35, told the International Cricket Council that the tournament was a “career changing” one for him.
He encouraged the new batch of youngsters to similarly make the most of the opportunity, while the world was watching.
“I played in big crowds, I played in big moments, in big pressure situations, in situations that made a good cricketer out of me and a fierce competitor. That helped me in my international career,” said Yuvraj, who went on to win the ICC World T20 2007 and World Cup 2011 with the senior side.
The all-rounder picked host New Zealand and India, last time’s semi-finalist, as among the favourites to win the title this time. “Afghanistan and Nepal too have been doing well. It’s pretty unpredictable for Under-19 because of the emergence of young talent,” he added.
His advice to the Prithvi Shaw-led Indian side was simple: to enjoy themselves.
“The conditions are going to be different. Enjoy them and prepare well,” he said. “[India] have an excellent coach with the Under-19 team in Rahul Dravid. They can’t have it better for their guidance.
“[New Zealand is] a beautiful country, it’s a country of beautiful people. I hope the guys enjoy the tournament, give it their best and form some memories.”