@Aadya_Wisden 5 minute read
Pakistan’s 2006 U19 World Cup win made them the first side to win back-to-back titles at the competition, catapulting some of the country’s best young talent to instant fame. Here’s a look at how the career of each member of the title-winning squad turned out.
Wicketkeeper & captain
The first captain to defend an U19 title, wicketkeeper and inspiring leader Sarfaraz was drafted into the ODI team a year later, as a reserve keeper for Kamran Akmal. Over the next half a decade, Sarfaraz was in and out of the team, while going on to make his Test and T20I debuts. After Kamran faded away, and a string of keepers were tried, Sarfaraz came back into the mix, soon taking over the leadership reins; just over a decade after the U19 World Cup win, he took them to Champions Trophy triumph in 2017. He continued to be Pakistan’s first-choice keeper until Mohammad Rizwan’s emergence.
A year before the U19 World Cup, young sensation Jamshed broke into first-class cricket aged 15, also making his entry into List A and T20 cricket the same year. At the U19 World Cup, he finished as Pakistan’s leading run-getter, and within two years, found a spot in the ODI team while still 18. From 2012 to 2014, Jamshed enjoyed success as a white-ball opener, but couldn’t hold onto his spot for long. In 2017, he was named in a Pakistan Super League spot-fixing scandal, and was jailed for seventeen months after pleading guilty, also copping a ten-year ban.
Partnering Jamshed in a left-right combination at the top of the order, Ali Khan went on to make his first-class debut soon after, playing all forms of Pakistan domestic cricket until 2018, including the ‘A team’ set-up. He was recently seen plying his trade in domestic leagues in the UAE – the 2020 Emirates D20, and the Abu Dhabi T10 League – last year.
Pakistan’s No.3 in the tournament, Ibrahim went on to lead their U19 team later that year. Already a List A cricketer, he broke into first-class cricket in 2006 as well, and continued to feature until 2015, playing 19 first-class games. Most recently, he was seen playing for Balochistan’s Second XI in the PCB Cricket Associations Challenge, a 45-over domestic tournament.
Unrelated to his more popular namesake, Rameez played 85 first-class games from 2006 to 2018, also featuring in List A and T20 cricket. In 2011, he earned a T20I call-up for a couple of games in Zimbabwe, scoring 24 runs in two turns, before being sidelined. In 2019, he featured in the Quaid-e-Azam Second XI Trophy for Sindh, scoring 133, but hasn’t played a competitive game since.
A left-handed batter who hit a crucial 69 in the semi-final, Ali Asad had a long and fruitful domestic career, playing 110 first-class matches, and 35 List A games.
One of Pakistan’s three half-centurions in the competition, Kail finished with the best average in the team – 40.66. Not along after the tournament, he made his way into first-class cricket, playing 67 red-ball games, 25 List A games, and 15 T20s until 2015, after which he ventured into coaching.
Pakistan’s wrecker-in-chief in the final, the bustling quick tore through India’s line-up with a five-wicket haul laden with in-swingers. Nurtured by Aaqib Javed, he was fast-tracked into first-class cricket, and handed a T20I cap in 2008. A second wind came in 2013/14, when Anwar returned to the T20I side for 22 games, and also featured in 16 ODIs. He continues to play all forms of domestic cricket in Pakistan.
Imad was a relatively late entrant to international cricket, but enjoyed a rousing start, establishing himself as one of the country’s leading spinning all-rounders. At the U19 World Cup, Imad – then just 17 – didn’t have a big role to play, taking four wickets and scoring 31 runs, and had to wait until 2015 for his maiden international cap. Top of the ICC T20I bowling charts in 2017, he lost a PCB central contract in 2021/22, but played in the 2021 T20 World Cup.
Anwar Ali’s new-ball partner, the left-arm quick possessed the knack to swing the ball both ways, and ended with 14 scalps in the competition, the second-best for the side after Anwar. In 21 first-class games, he picked 56 wickets, but didn’t continue beyond 2014 at the domestic level.
Anwar’s partner in crime in the final against India, Ayub snared three wickets for just nine runs, polishing off the tail. Not long after, he was playing all three domestic formats, up until the mid-2010s. He made a late comeback to first-class cricket in the 2018 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, but it only lasted two games.
An off-break bowler who wasn’t called on to bowl in the final when the quicks reigned supreme, Usman had made his first-class debut as early as 2004, playing all three domestic formats until 2014.
Laeeq, an off-spinner, didn’t play the final, and wicketless in his only game of the competition. His domestic career was brief: not extending beyond eight first-class matches and six List A games, the last of which came in 2009.
Mohammad Faheem and Fahad Mengal were part of the squad, but never played a professional game thereafter.