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A look back at how some of the big names in international cricket fared at Under-19 World Cups
August 9, 2012
The first edition of the Under-19 World Cup played in Australia in 1987-88 featured a number of future international stars but it took another ten years for the second edition to be organised after which the ICC made the tournament a biennial event. At the start of another edition, this time in Australia, ESPNcricinfo looks back at how some of the big names in international cricket have fared in the tournament.
Brian Lara had an indifferent start against Australia but he immediately made amends in the next game against New Zealand with a half-century. He batted at Nos. 3 and 4 and scored 222 runs in the tournament to see West Indies through to the semi-finals, where he scored 42 in a narrow loss to Pakistan.
One of the three bowlers who revived legspin in the 1990s, Pakistan's Mushtaq Ahmed was among the leading wicket-takers in the tournament with 19 wickets from nine matches at an average of 16.21. He was consistent through the tournament, with three-wicket hauls in five games, and his best - 3 for 28 - in the league match against West Indies.
Other future big names in the tournament included New Zealand allrounder Chris Cairns, Pakistan's Inzamam-ul-Haq, Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya and England's Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain - all of whom went on to captain their national sides in the future.
1997-98 (South Africa)
Chris Gayle announced himself on the international stage with a half-century against Australia but his century stand with Darren Ganga was not enough on the day as West Indies lost by 71 runs. Gayle added two more half centuries - against Denmark and Namibia - before exploding in the plate final against Bangladesh when he scored an unbeaten 141. Although West Indies lost that match, Gayle ended up as tournament's leading run-scorer with 364 runs at an average of 72.80.
In contrast, Virender Sehwag, a middle-order batsman then, failed to leave any mark on the tournament and managed only 76 runs in six outings. He scored 38 in India's opening game against hosts South Africa, but his form tailed off thereafter, and in the last match, against Pakistan, he was out for a duck.
Other members of the Class of '98 - Harbhajan Singh, Graeme Swann, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shoaib Malik.
1999-2000 (Sri Lanka)
Graeme Smith led the batting charts with 348 runs in six innings. He scored four half-centuries in the tournament with an unbeaten 38 being his lowest score. His best effort, 82 not out, came against Zimbabwe in South Africa's penultimate match.
Michael Clarke had a tough initiation at the international level as he could only manage 72 runs in his five innings. Clarke also struggled with setting the pace as his runs came at a strike rate of 46.15.
Other graduates - Shane Watson, Yuvraj Singh, Danish Kaneria, Brendon McCullum, Ian Bell
2001-02 (New Zealand)
South Africa's only Test triple centurion, Hashim Amla, led his side to their first appearance in the tournament final but lost to Australia. Amla showed glimpses of his batting ability as he scored two half-centuries - 53 against Bangladesh and an important 62 in the semi-final against India. Amla finished with 191 runs from seven innings at an average of 27.28.
Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul was on the "verge of walking away" from cricket before he picked up 11 wickets from five innings. "I owe it big time to the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2002. If that opportunity had not been provided to me at that time, I would have left cricket and reverted my attention and focus to academics," Gul said recently.
Other graduates: Irfan Pathan, Tim Bresnan, Ross Taylor, Upul Tharanga, Dwayne Bravo
Unlike his Test debut, Alastair Cook started the Under-19 World Cup with a failure - against Nepal. But in the second week of the tournament, Cook slammed back-to-back centuries; both times 108 not out off 131 balls, against New Zealand and Zimbabwe and followed it up with 87 against eventual tournament winners Pakistan. Cook's three big innings put him on the second spot for tournament's leading run-scorers; he scored 383 runs at an average of 76.60. Suresh Raina laid the foundation of his ODI success in this tournament with three fifty-plus scores - one of them, a brutal 38-ball 90 that helped India crush Scotland by 270 runs.
Other graduates: Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul
2005-06 (Sri Lanka)
Bangladesh's ace allrounder Shakib al Hasan had a modest tournament but he proved his all-round worth with 150 runs and seven wickets in six matches. But Shakib was at his best in Bangladesh's four-wicket win over Pakistan as he picked up the top four in the batting order to return with figures of 10-1-34-4. He also scored an attacking 67 as Bangladesh beat hosts Sri Lanka by 98 runs at the SCC in Colombo.
Other graduates: Rohit Sharma, Sunil Narine, Angelo Mathews
Virat Kohli led India to their second Under-19 World Cup title and even though he wasn't one of the leading scorers, he played a few key innings. The best of them was a 73-ball 100 against West Indies which helped India to a 50-run win. His 235 runs in the tournament came at an average of 47.00 while he also picked up four wickets with his slow medium-pacers.
Fast bowler Doug Bracewell made a quick jump from representing New Zealand Under-19s in the last edition of the tournament to playing Test cricket. Bracewell started with 3 for 31 against Canada but went wicketless in last three matches to finish at No. 35 in the wicket-takers list.
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Devashish Fuloria
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