The third iteration of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, held in Sri Lanka, began just 11 days after the millennium fireworks, and the competition certainly delivered some itself.
India ended as victors, defeating hosts Sri Lanka in an all-Asian final (three of the four semi-finalists were from Asia), and there was no shortage of Test cricketers in the making on show.
India’s future star Yuvraj Singh was named Player of the Tournament, impressing with 12 wickets and 203 runs, albeit with a modest average of 29. India, under captain Mohammad Kaif, remained unbeaten throughout the tournament.
Australia, meanwhile, had a mean crop of youngsters, including Michael Clarke, Eddie Cowan, Nathan Hauritz, Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Johnson. Clarke had a largely unimpressive campaign, however, only managing 72 runs at an average of 14.4. Johnson was also muted, claiming only four wickets, but Watson fared far better, scoring 266 at 53.20. Australia were the only non-Asian side to make the semis, where they were crushed by India by 170 runs.
South Africa boasted Jacques Rudolph as well as future skipper Graeme Smith among their ranks, and the latter led the tournament scoring with 348 runs at an average of 87. Joining him was a certain Jonathan Trott – who would go on to represent England at senior level – but he only managed three innings, amassing 140 runs.
Other players of note included West Indies’ Marlon Samuels, Pakistan’s Yasir Arafat, Faisal Iqbal, Taufeeq Umar and Imran Nasir, England’s Ian Bell, who managed a meagre 73 runs in six innings, and Michael Carberry. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum (who played alongside his brother Nathan) tamely made his way to 42 runs across the tournament, with a very un-McCullum strike rate of 40.38. How times change!