The ICC U19 CWC can be hit and miss when it comes to unearthing genuine talents that will go on to forge long and successful careers in the game. For every Yuvraj Singh and Shikhar Dhawan there is a Brett Williams or Stephen Peters. It just proves cricketers mature at different speeds. Yet there have certainly been a number who have announced themselves on the world stage with real aplomb.
These are the stand-out star turns in World Cup finals that had cricket audiences furiously jotting down names with a view to the future. They were the ice-cool performances that showcased cricketers with the temperament to make it to the top.
1998 – Owais Shah (England beat New Zealand)
Those who knew Owais Shah’s game best always insisted that he deserved to play more internationals. And though six Tests and 71 ODIs isn’t a bad senior return – especially from a player who, at times, looked as good as any batsman in world cricket – the Shah supporters were perhaps influenced by performances at youth level. At no stage was this more evident than in the 1998 final when a belligerent Shah smote 54 not out to guide England home against New Zealand. Chasing 242 for victory, skipper Shah came in and played a captain’s innings to help England to their first, and still only, world title at U19 level.
2002 – Cameron White (Australia beat South Africa)
There has been a long history of U19 CWC finals being rather low-scoring affairs, so Cameron White’s all-round performance in the 2002 showpiece perhaps doesn’t look as good on paper as it ought to. The leg-spinning all-rounder first produced an outstanding spell of economical bowling to restrict South Africa to 206/9 in Lincoln. He finished with 0/27 from his 10 overs, wicketless but by no means insignificant. He also captained Australia superbly in the field as Aaron Bird (4/47) and Xavier Doherty (2/26) ran riot. White then hit a crucial cameo of 22 to take his team to the brink of victory, as Jarred Burke carried his bat and Australia cruised home by seven wickets.
2010 – Josh Hazlewood (Australia beat Pakistan)
To win the Player of the Match award in an U19 CWC final can occasionally put unfair expectations on young cricketers, whose best displays can be anomalies or outliers. But Josh Hazlewood, now one of the world's leading fast bowlers in all formats and renowned for his lethal combination of pace and accuracy, pulled off a sublime spell of 4/30 in the 2010 final to dismiss Pakistan for 182, claim the Player of the Match award and clinch victory for Australia. He'd already snared 2/24 to reduce New Zealand to 170 all out in the quarter-finals, but missed out on the overall award for Player of the Tournament to South Africa's Dominic Hendricks, who scored 391 runs.
2014 – Aiden Markram (South Africa beat Pakistan)
Aiden Markram [pictured top] is the latest talented South African batsman to break into the Test side, though since Graeme Smith’s retirement the opening berth has been something of a poisoned chalice. Markram certainly has the pedigree at U19 level to fill Smith's sizeable boots, however, after winning the Player of the Tournament award in 2014. The South Africans stormed to the world title without losing a game, as Markram hit an unbeaten 66 in the final – a straightforward six-wicket win over Pakistan – to take his tally for the tournament to 370. He’s now chalked up two Test centuries in his first six games to really prove himself on the biggest stage.