The Under-19 World Cup is a provides a cricket tournament like no other.
The event is always hotly contested in its own right, but the joy of following it is rarely about the results themselves. Instead, the game within a game is to try and spot those players who have got ‘it’, that special something that will turn them from being a promising youngster to an international force.
Some squads are more packed full of talent than others. And while, at the time, they might not have stood out as one of the best or even got that far in the World Cup itself, looking back through every squad for the tournament reveals some stacked full of players who would go on to dominate. Here are some of the most future-star powered Under-19 Cricket World Cup squads there have ever been.
South Africa – 2000
Captain: Thami Tsolekile
Future internationals: Thami Tsolekile, Johan Botha, Albie Morkel, Graeme Smith, Jonathan Trott
Though South Africa failed to make the semis of the competition, the tournament brought to the fore the talent of Graeme Smith, the future captain of the senior team, who would go on to lead in more Tests than any other player. He scored 348 runs in six innings at an average of 87 with four fifties and had for company Johan Botha and Albie Morkel, who later went on to become established international players for South Africa. Jonathan Trott also went on to significant heights, but for England, standing now as one of their best modern first drops.
England – 2010
Captain: Azeem Rafiq
Future internationals: Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Joe Root, James Vince, Danny Briggs, David Payne
England were skittled in the quarter-finals by West Indies, with the highlight of their campaign a rapid Ben Stokes century to despatch India in the group stages. But the side still contained the nucleus of one of the greatest white-ball sides in history. Four members of their 2019 Cricket World Cup-winning squad featured, including Stokes, Joe Root and Jos Buttler, three of England’s greatest-ever cricketers. The age group continues to reap rewards too: left-arm seamer David Payne made his international debut against the Netherlands just last week.
Ireland – 2004
Captain: William Porterfield
Future internationals: William Porterfield, Gary Kidd, Eoin Morgan, Kevin O’Brien, Boyd Rankin, Greg Thompson, Gary Wilson
That five members of the squad went on to become greats of the Irish game highlights the immense talent the team possessed back in 2004, a true green and golden generation. Though Ireland crashed out in the first round, the unit contained two future legendary captains: William Porterfield, who led Ireland in 172 matches across formats, and Eoin Morgan, who would turn England from no-hopers into one of the great white-ball sides. Kevin O’Brien is Ireland’s most successful all-rounder, with 172 wickets across formats and one of the great World Cup knocks to his name, while Boyd Rankin is one of three bowlers from the country with more than 150 wickets in international cricket, and was good enough to earn an Ashes Test debut. Gary Wilson, meanwhile, is one of the Ireland’s most successful wicketkeepers.
New Zealand – 2008
Captain: Kane Williamson
Future internationals: Kane Williamson, Corey Anderson, Michael Bracewell, George Worker, Hamish Rutherford, Trent Boult, Tim Southee
The Black Caps under-19 unit contained three players, in Kane Williamson, Trent Boult and Tim Southee, who would continue to reign supreme 14 years after the end of the tournament. The side lost in the semis of the event to India despite a fine 70 from Corey Anderson – future world record holder for the fastest ODI hundred – who was the only player from the camp to score two fifties. Though Williamson did not have the best outing, scoring 124 runs in five innings, the duo of Boult and Southee displayed how lethal they would be in the future, grabbing 28 wickets between them.
Bangladesh – 2006
Captain: Mushfiqur Rahim
Future internationals: Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Dolar Mahmud, Mehrab Hossain, Raqibul Hasan, Shamsur Rahman, Sirajullah Khadim, Suhrawadi Shuvo
Think Bangladesh cricket, and the first three names, in all likelihood, to come to mind would be Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim. All three now-veterans were members of the 2006 Under-19 World Cup squad, and have since progressed to be torch-bearers of the sport in the country. Shakib is widely regarded as one of the world’s best all-rounders, while the longevity and consistency displayed by Tamim and Mushfiqur are there for all to see. Overall, nine of the 15 members of the Bangladesh squad went on to play for the international side.
Australia – 2008
Captain: Michael Hill
Future internationals: Philip Hughes, James Faulkner, Josh Hazlewood, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis
Josh Hazlewood and Steve Smith are two of the Test cricket’s mightiest current players. While Smith, former Australia skipper, averages just under 60 in the longest format, Hazlewood is one of the most lethal quicks, who has recently reinvented himself in the shorter formats as well. Marcus Stoinis and James Faulkner have both played key parts in World Cup triumphs, and Philip Hughes’ tragic talent needs little reminder.
India – 2006
Captain: Ravikant Shukla
Future internationals: Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara, Piyush Chawla, Shahbaz Nadeem, Ishant Sharma
Arguably the strongest under-19 batch for India, always title challengers in the tournament, 2006 produced as many as four Test regulars. Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharme established themselves as match-winners in the format even as Rohit emerged as one of the finest white-ball batters of the era. His transition into an effective Test opener recently has been followed by his ascendency to the captaincy in all formats. Shahbaz Nadeem has also played two Tests, while Piyush Chawla represented India in 35 internationals, including in the 2011 World Cup.
West Indies – 2006
Captain: Leon Johnson
Future internationals: Shamarh Brooks, Andre Fletcher, Jason Mohammed, Andre McCarthy, Sunil Narine, Nelon Pascal, William Perkins, Kieron Pollard, Kemar Roach, Gajanand Singh
Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Kemar Roach are the standouts. The first two now stand among the finest T20 players there have ever been, while Roach’s Test record sits alongside some of West Indies’ greatest fast bowlers.