Many of the experts say that the legends of tomorrow are exhibited in this tournament. The ICC Under 19 World Cup got underway in UAE yesterday and already it looks to be an exciting tournament as always it has been. The Under 19 World Cup for many youngsters is the most important tournament at this stage of their career.
They get to taste the first piece of international cricket and is the perfect platform for assessing themselves as to where they stand on the world stage. Yesteryear legends like Brian Lara, Inzamam Ul-Haq, Nasser Hussain, Chris Cairns, Sanath Jayasuriya all have used the same path.
Many people do not know that the Under 19 World Cup started in 1988. Then it was known as McDonald’s Bicentennial Youth World Cup and it was won by the home team, Australia who have won the competition a maximum three times along with India. The tournament was again restarted by ICC under its current name in the year 1998 hosted by South Africa and won by England, a squad which contained the likes of Owais Shah, Robert Key and Graeme Swann.
Many of today’s household names like Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara, Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson, George Bailey, Alastair Cook, Ravi Rampaul were all seen in this stage. And many of tomorrow’s household names are hiding themselves at this moment in this tournament.
The latest sensation adding to all these names listed is Virat Kohli, someone who won it in the year 2008. Current English ODI team men Danny Briggs, Jos Buttler, Joe Root and Ben Stokes represented their country in this tournament as recent as in 2010.
India have traditionally been favourites in this tournament, having reached the finals a record 4 times including 3 final appearances in the last 4 tournaments. This time again, it is no different. The squad is led by Maharashtra lad Vijay Zol who has had a very impressive Ranji Trophy season scoring 553 runs including a double hundred against Tripura on debut.
The squad also boasts of Rajasthan Royals regular Sanju Samson who impressed everyone with his shots in the last edition of IPL and the Champions League T20. Funnily enough, a boy called Kuldeep Singh Yadav who was bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders in yesterday’s auction is termed as ‘the mystery spinner’ of the team as he bowls left-arm chinaman.
Talents in other teams include Aussie wicket keeper Ben McDermott who played for the Brisbane Heat in the BBL03, English batsman Dominic Sibley who scored a double ton for Surrey against Yorkshire thus making him the youngest to score a double ton in the County Championship and Windies kid Nicolas Pooran who represented Trinidad & Tobago in the last edition of CLT20. We also have Windies legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s son Tagenarine Chanderpaul and Pakistani stalwart Inzamam Ul-Haq’s nephew Imam Ul-Haq playing in the tournament.
Altogether it seems this edition of the U19 World Cup will be no less exciting. India open their campaign today against arch rivals Pakistan with both the squads having good preparation to the tournament. Best of luck to the boys in blue.