Ten Under-19 World Cup stars who never cracked the top level
The U19 World Cup has seen many of the great and the good of cricket emerge since its first edition in 1988. But what about those who never lived up to their early promise?
Peaking as a teenager is unfortunate for those playing alongside names who go on to dominate the cricketing landscape in the years to come. But that’s the unfortunate scenario many fall into after earning the title of ‘one to watch’ as a youngster, but falling behind in senior competition.
Here are ten players who excelled in the U19 World Cup, but never went on to crack senior level international cricket.
Brett Williams – 1988 (Australia)
A member of the Australia team which won the first-ever Youth Cricket World Cup (as it was called then) in 1988, Williams scored a century in the final of the tournament against Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval. Across the whole competition, Williams scored 471 runs in nine matches, over 100 runs more than the second placed batter in the run-scoring charts. His highest score in the tournament came in the opening match, where he hit 112 against the West Indies. But, after the tournament Williams only went on to play four first-class matches and three List A matches for South Australia. He hit two first-class fifties, with a top score of 77 but never fulfilled the promise his performances in the 1988 competition.
Tanmay Srivastava – 2008 (India)
The 2008 World Cup was a who’s who of cricketing greats of the 2010s. Kane Williamson, Steve Smith, Trent Boult, Dinesh Chandimal – all of them featured in that tournament which was won by India under the leadership of Virat Kohli. The future India captain was outscored in that tournament, however, by Srivastava – who batted at No.3 and averaged 52.40. Following India’s victory, the signs were positive that Srivastava would kick on to greater things after he finished the 2008/09 season as Uttar Pradesh’s leading run-scorer. He even picked up a deal with Kings XI Punjab for the 2008 IPL. A move to the ill-fated Kochi Tuskers Kerala saw him drop off the IPL radar however, and he retired from all cricket at 30 with a first-class average of 34. 39.
Dominic Hendricks – 2010 (South Africa)
The leading run-scorer at the 2010 tournament, Hendricks scored a century and three fifties for South Africa. He finished ahead of Babar Azam and Quinton de Kock in the run-scoring charts, with his century coming against New Zealand whose bowlers included Jimmy Neesham. While he’s played 145 first-class matches in South Africa since, he has fallen outside of those touted for international selection.
Unmukt Chand – 2012 (India)
Chand captained India U19s to their third World Cup title in 2012. He scored an unbeaten century against an Australia side which included Ashton Turner and Travis Head, and outscored Ben Foakes and Kraigg Brathwaite across the tournament. Making his IPL debut for the Delhi Daredevils in 2013, he was dismissed for a golden duck by Brett Lee, and went on to represent both Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians. He has played franchise leagues around the world and is currently playing for Chattogram Challengers in the BPL, but has never represented India.
Reetinder Singh Sodhi – 2000 (India)
Yuvraj Singh was the big name from India to kick on after the 2000 edition of the tournament, but Sodhi also played an important role in the tournament in which India claimed their first title. Sodhi had already made his first-class debut by the time of the tournament and scored 82 at Lord’s in the U15 World Cup final against Pakistan. He went on to make his ODI debut for India against Zimbabwe, before scoring his first senior international fifty two weeks later and take two wickets in the same match. Multiple stress fractures in his back, however, led his career to be cut short at age 30. Sodhi went on to become a TV pundit and domestic umpire.
Jack Burnham – 2016 (England)
Burnham was the leading run-scorer at the 2016 tournament in which England finished sixth. Playing alongside Dan Lawrence, Sam Curran and Saqib Mahmood, he scored 65 more runs than the next highest run-scorer – who happened to be India’s Sarfaraz Khan – and scored three centuries in the tournament. However, Burnham’s career ground to a halt when he was handed a one-year ban from cricket in 2017 after failing three drugs tests. Coming back to play for Durham after serving his ban, Burnham scored his first first-class hundred in five years in 2021 against Worcestershire, but left the county later that season.
Anuk Fernando – 2014 (Sri Lanka)
After taking the most wickets in the 2014 tournament, Fernando has scarcely been seen on the international circuit since. He played a part in some tight rear-guard action which handed Sri Lanka a one-wicket win over England in the group stages of the competition, but since then has been confined to the domestic leagues. Fernando has played over fifty first-class matches, taking 55 wickets without a five-for – despite taking more wickets than Kagiso Rabada in 2014.
Zahid Saeed – 1998 & 2000 (Pakistan)
Despite featuring in two editions of the U19 World Cup, Saeed’s international cricket aspirations went no further after 2000. He played as a 17-year-old in the 1998 tournament before finishing as leading wicket-taker in 2000. His victims in the tournament included Michael Clarke and Shane Watson, with Pakistan losing out to Sri Lanka in the semi-finals. Saeed went on to play 75 first-class matches taking 299 wickets. His final competitive match was back in 2006.
Chathura Peiris – 2008 & 2010 (Sri Lanka)
After only featuring in one match for Sri Lanka in the 2008 tournament, Peris was named captain of his side for the following edition. He finished that tournament as the second highest wicket-taker, with 13 wickets, having guided Sri Lanka to the semi-finals where they were beaten by Australia. He took the same number of wickets in that tournament as Josh Hazlewood, but hasn’t made the step up to senior international level.
Donovan Pagon – 2002 (West Indies)
Pagon held the record for the highest individual score in the U19 World Cup from 2002-2018, after he scored 176 off 129 balls against Scotland in Dunedin. He played alongside Dwayne Bravo, Ravi Rampaul and Daren Sammy in that tournament, before making his Test debut in 2005. The two Tests he played were in less than ideal circumstances, Pagon was called into the side after seven players including Brian Lara and Chris Gayle did not play amid a sponsorship row. After scoring a 35 and two single figure scores, Pagon never threatened international selection again.