U-19 World Cup: 10 youngsters who made it to senior team

Here are some of the best international players to have played in the previous editions of th U-19 World Cup before making their name in the men’s game.

Kane Williamson and Steve Smith played in the 2008 U-19 World Cup.   -  GETTY IMAGES

In three decades time, the Under-19 World Cup has seen itself become the audition stage for exceptional future international stars. The multi-nation tournament went on to produce some of modern-era’s finest batsmen, World-Cup winning captains and epoch-making all-rounders who stamped their name on cricket’s biggest stage.

From an unending list of greats of the game, here are a few international stars who redefined the dynamics of cricket in their own unique ways, tracing their roots to the tournament.

Brendon McCullum (2000)

The turn of the century saw the first of a dashing batsman who had his own iconic list of ‘tons’ in his career. The Kiwi opener redefined six-hitting across formats – a testament to this fact being his record 107 sixes in Test cricket. McCullum was the architect of Kiwi’s resurgence across formats and also lit up the Indian Premier League with a mind-boggling 158* in its inaugural match. The world saw the first of his ability at the 2000 U-19 World Cup.

Graeme Smith (2000)

South Africa’s most successful captain, Graeme Smith was exceptional in his first international tournament – 348 runs with four half-centuries, Smith was the series’ top-scorer. Regarded as one of South Africa’s finest batsmen of all time, Smith captained the national side at a tender age of 22 and held on to the position until his retirement in 2014.

Michael Clarke (2000)

Australia’s World-Cup winning captain, Michael Clarke made his Under-19 World Cup debut in 2000. A test debut against India four years later had the elegant right-hander score an impressive 151 for Australia in Bangalore. Clarke went on to score a record four-double hundreds in 2012 before leading the Aussies to a fifth World-Cup triumph in 2015.

Hashim Amla (2002)

Hashim Amla captained South-Africa’ under-19 side at the 2002 World Cup. The right-hander scored 191 runs with two fifties from seven outings in the tournament. In a 15-year career for the Proteas, Amla emerged to become one of the most prolific scorers of his generation, with over 8000 runs in both Tests and ODIs.

Hashim Amla captained South Africa's U-19 side in the 2002 edition. Photo: Getty Images

 

Alastair Cook (2004)

Limited-overs cricket is not regarded his forte but the elegant Englishman began his international career with a successful U-19 World Cup stint. With two hundreds and a fifty, Cook was the second-highest run getter of the tournament with 383 runs. The elegant opener went on to have an illustrious career for England – both as a captain and an opening batsman. With over, 12000 runs in Test cricket, Cook is widely regarded as one of the modern game’s stalwarts.

Cook scored two hundreds and a fifty in the 2004 edition. Photo: Getty Images

 

David Warner (2006)

Australia’s dashing opener, David Warner made his U-19 World Cup appearance in the 2006 edition. Warner made history with his Australian senior debut, becoming the first Aussie in history to make a debut without having played a single first-class game. The talent justified its early backing from the Australian management after being one of its most destructive and consistent batsman, ten years down the lane.

Eoin Morgan (2004, 2006)

The World-Cup winning captain of England, Eoin Morgan interestingly made his U-19 appearance for Ireland in the 2004 and 2006 World Cups. Captaining the side in the second tournament, the left-handed batsman plundered 338 runs from six innings with a hundred and two fifties. With his ability to strike big, Morgan made a name for himself in his transition to English cricket as a limited-overs specialist.

Steve Smith (2008)

One of the finest Test players of the current generation, Australia’s leading batsman Steve Smith made his U-19 World Cup appearance in 2008. Having started his career as a leg-spinner who could bat down the order, Smith’s remarkable turnaround saw the Aussie batsman polish his game to become a prolific run-machine in tests despite his unorthodox technique.

Kane Williamson (2008)

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson began his journey at the U-19 World Cup in Malaysia with 124 runs from five innings, which in hindsight does not reflect the Kiwi batsman’s prowess. His gradual ascent to New Zealand cricket’s helm saw him nonchalantly take the mantle from an aggressive captain in Brendon McCullum and making it his own. Post 2015, Williamson has staped his mark with the bat across the world, being one of the more consistent batsmen across formats. Williamson’s leadership skills is an added facet of his game that has garnered praise from aficionados across the world.

Joe Root (2010)

England’s modern run-machine, Joe Root made his U-19 appearance in England colours in 2010 – with 138 runs from six outings. Root made his test debut in 2012 in India and toiled hard for a 73 off 229 against the Indians in a historic series win for the Englishmen. Over the flip of a decade, Root has established himself as England’s test captain with over a 7000 runs in the format.

Joe Root made his senior Test debut after his U-19 World Cup bow in 2010. Photo: Getty Images

 

Ben Stokes (2010)

England’s gritty all-rounder Ben Stokes made his Under-19 World Cup bow in the 2010 edition – 168 runs with a hundred and seven wickets.

Stokes scored a 100 and claimed seven wickets in the 2010 edition. Photo: Getty Images

With his immense character and ability to shine under mounting pressure, Stokes has established himself as one of the most influential cricketers of the modern game – the World Cup final and a monumental unbeaten Ashes hundred in 2019 being testament of the same.

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