The 2002 U19 Cricket World Cup was the first to be held in New Zealand (with this year’s competition New Zealand became the first country to host the tournament three times) and pitted South Africa against Australia in the final, with the Aussies claiming their second tournament triumph.
Of the future stars, Australian one-day specialist Cameron White, who made a reappearance in the recent ODI series against England, spearheaded his side's march to glory, notching a tournament-high 423 runs and claiming the Player of the Tournament award, while left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty topped the wicket-taking charts with 16 victims. Dan Christian, George Bailey and Shaun Marsh (playing in his second U19 CWC) also had good tournaments.
West Indies had three future starlets in Lendl Simmons (222 runs at 55.50), Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy, but neither of the latter two played a pivotal role in their run to the semi-finals. Between them they managed barely 100 runs and Sammy, not given many overs, took just three wickets.
India’s Parthiv Patel kept wicket and skippered the side, with his team succumbing to South Africa’s firepower in the semi-final. Parthiv scored a respectable 184 over the tournament, whereas teammate Irfan Pathan wasn’t the subject of many newspaper columns, taking a mediocre six wickets and not getting much time at the crease.
Neighbours Pakistan had a pair of future Test players themselves in Salman Butt, who captained the side, and Umar Gul. Butt hit a respectable 166 at an average of 33.20, while Gul’s seamers earned him 11 wickets.
The tournament also gave fans a first glimpse of South African batsman Hashim Amla, who captained his side to the final and scored a respectable 191 runs at an average of 27.28.
But Zimbabwe’s Tatenda Taibu – who skippered, kept wicket, bowled and batted his way to the Player of the Tournament – stole the show. His side, including Sean Ervine, Brendan Taylor, Elton Chigumbura and Hamilton Masakadza, won the Plate final, with the jack-of-all-trades changing between keeper and bowler to register 12 wickets, five catches and 250 runs at an average of 50. Taibu, who had already played Test cricket before the tournament, ended his career with 28 Tests for his country.