The ICC U19 Cricket World Cup was created as a platform for promising youngsters to test themselves against their peers and to prepare them for life as an international cricketer. There have now been 12 editions, with the skills of the players increasing tournament on tournament.
The inaugural tournament in 1988 – known as the Youth World Cup and held as part of the Australian Bicentenary celebrations – was highly successful, showcasing the talents of several cricketers who went on to have successful careers as captains of their senior sides.
Brian Lara led his West Indies team to the semi-finals, but his campaign was somewhat muted, as he managed 222 runs at an average of 27.75. Even the most eagle-eyed of scouts would have struggled to see the player he would go on to become. Future captain Jimmy Adams also featured for the Windies.
Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain represented England, the former skippering the Three Lions to the semi-finals. Hussain scored 330 runs across the tournament at an average of 41.25, while Atherton was less successful, averaging 24.63 with 197 runs.
Inzamam-ul-Haq captained Pakistan to the final, where they lost to Australia by five wickets. He was not a major success but did go one better than Lara, scoring 223 runs at 37.17. He was joined in the team by Mushtaq Ahmed, who took a tournament-high 19 wickets at 16.21.
Sanath Jayasuriya’s Sri Lanka side narrowly missed out on qualification to the semi-finals, but it was a competition to forget for their skipper. He only managed 70 runs and took seven wickets – his senior career turned out to be far more successful.
Australia won the tournament, although only two members of the squad – Alan Mullally and Stuart Law – went on to earn Test caps, and the former represented England at the top level. Australia's Brett Williams was the leading run-scorer with 471 (he went on to play four first-class matches for South Australia without ever fulfilling that early promise) and pace bowler Wayne Holdsworth, who toured England in the Ashes squad of 1993 without playing a Test, also took 19 wickets.