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5 Under-19s who made it big

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Under 19_U19_international_team_CricketThe Under-19 Cricket World Cup is considered an entry point to national cricket team for young, up & coming cricketers. This tournament is a chance for teenagers to assess their skills against their counterparts from many other countries. Sometimes their first exposure to international cricket, they get to experience the pride associated with representing their own country at the global level.

This tournament gives great opportunities to youngsters and helps their metamorphosis from boys to professional sportsmen. As the 2018 edition of the Under-19 Cricket World Cup is in its final phase, let’s take a look at some of the youngsters unearthed from the last 2 editions (2014, 2016) of the tournament.

2016

Mehedi Hasan Miraz - Bangladesh

Mehedi had a very successful outing in the 2016 Under-19 Cricket World Cup. He led Bangladesh to their first appearance in an Under-19 World Cup semi-final in February 2016. He was captain of Bangladesh Under-19 team in 2 successive world cup tournaments- 2014 and 2016. An all-rounder, he showed his skills with both bat and ball, scoring 242 runs at an average of 60 and taking 12 wickets.

Looking at his prolific performance in the Under-19 World Cup, Bangladesh team management decided to fast track him to national side. Within six months of his 2016 semi-final appearance, he made his Test debut for Bangladesh. He announced himself with a scintillating performance with ball, picking up a Man of the Match and Man of the Series award as Bangladesh defeated England in a Test for the first time and drew the 2 Test series 1-1.

Rishabh Pant - India

From vice-captain of the Under-19 team in 2016 to leading the Delhi Ranji Trophy side to the final, Rishabh Pant has taken giant strides within just two years. During his early days, he went through a lot for cricket. He moved from Roorkee to Delhi to Rajasthan, then returned to Delhi, and was even thrown out of an academy once.

Rishabh put all his energy into his practice and his fortunes soon turned around. Selection in the Under-19 World Cup side was a huge launch pad for him. People heard his name and recognised his quality when he smashed a record-breaking fifty against Nepal and followed it up with a century against Namibia to help India qualify for the semi-finals.

He scored a quick fire 111 in that game and on the same day was bought by Delhi Daredevils for INR 1.9 crores from a base price of Rs 10 lakhs. Pant scored 267 runs in Under-19 World Cup with a strike rate of 104.29.

Following his successful run in the Under-19 circuit, Delhi handed him a Ranji Trophy debut. He broke more records, scoring a triple-century against Maharashtra and a blistering 48-ball hundred against Jharkhand in the 2016-17 first-class season. There was no looking back for Pant.

He made his T20I debut against England on 1st Feb 2017, exactly one year after his heroics in the Under-19 World Cup. The find of the 2016 edition, he has been considered a wicket keeper who can take the baton from MS Dhoni in the future.

Washington Sundar - India

At 16 years of age, Washington Sundar was youngest player in India’s squad during the 2016 Under-19 Cricket World Cup. Despite being the youngest, he featured in all 6 matches that India played. Though India lost the final to the West Indies, Washington kept India in the contest till the last over. He gave away just 18 runs in his 9 overs.

He scored 116 runs in the tournament and took 5 wickets while bowling miserly, economical spells in the middle overs. As a batsman, he can bat at any position. He batted in the middle order in the World Cup but opened the batting in the 2nd edition of the Tamil Nadu Premier League, starting the innings with a bang.

Just 18 months after the Under-19 World Cup final, he made his debut for India in a T20 against Sri Lanka. He took 1 wicket while giving away just 22 runs. His consummate skills in T20s are undeniable. In his debut IPL season, he turned out to be a huge asset for Rising Pune Supergiant. He has a long way to go with Indian team as an all-rounder.

2014

Kagiso Rabada - South Africa

He finished as 2nd highest wicket taker in the 2014 tournament with 14 wickets. His best performance came in the semi-final against Australia where he took 6 for 25 and helped the Proteas reach their first ever Under-19 World Cup final. In the final against Pakistan, he once again showed his class with figures of 1/26 from 10 overs.

Those were the early signs of an upcoming star for the Rainbow Nation. He was handed his T20 debut in November in 2014 against Australia. In the last few years, he has evolved and improved his game to become the youngest bowler to reach the No. 1 ICC ranking. As Dale Steyn’s career winds down, Rabada is all set to lead the South African bowling attack.

Aiden Markram - South Africa

The other big find from the 2014 Under-19 Cricket World Cup for South Africa was the man who led them to victory- Aiden Markram. While South Africa’s performance at major ICC tournaments has been dismal, the 2014 Under-19 Cricket World Cup was only the 2nd ICC event that South Africa managed to win after the 1998 Champions Trophy.

Markram was South Africa’s leading run scorer in the tournament. He made 370 runs at an average of 123.33. His top score of 120 runs came against Zimbabwe. Markram enjoyed taking responsibility on his shoulders and won the Man of the Series award in South Africa’s tournament win.

On his international Test debut against Bangladesh, he got out on 97, just 3 runs shy of scoring a Test ton on debut. Markram has looked solid at the top of the Proteas batting order. He has already been pegged as a prospect for leading South Africa in the future.

 

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