Every two years, the International Cricket Council organizes the U19 World Cup. The tournament is an excellent opportunity for young players worldwide to represent their country on the international platform. Many players who excel in this tournament get instant recognition worldwide. In a country like India, where people follow cricket very closely, the weight of expectations on the shoulders of these young players is high. Many players who have played in the U19 World Cup have represented the senior team of their countries. Let us a look at the Top 10 Graduates of the 2008 U19 World Cup-
1. Steve Smith
Steven Peter Devereux Smith is one of the “Fab Four” of today’s cricket. He was part of the Australian side in the 2008 ICC U19 World Cup. He played 4 matches and scored 114 runs, with the highest score of 39. He also took 7 wickets, with his best figures 4/41 coming against Namibia U19. He grew up as one of the best batters in the world. As of 15 January 2022, his average in Tests is 60.13, which is the 6th best in history.
2. Virat Kohli
This man needs no introduction. He led the Indian team to its second U19 World Cup title in 2008 in Malaysia. 13 years down the lane, he has become one of the best batters to have played International Cricket. He started his Indian captaincy in a Test Series in Australia in 2014. Under him, India won its first-ever Test series in Australia (twice). His highest career-batting average is 52.04.
3. Kane Williamson
One of the most classic batters ever, Kane Stuart Williamson, led the New Zealand team to the Super Semi-Finals in the 2008 U19 World Cup. He went on to captain the New Zealand senior team in all three formats with a success rate of 53.21%. He led the Kiwis in two T20 World Cups (2016, 2021), one World Cup (2019), one Champions Trophy (2017), and one World Test Championship (2021). Under him, the Kiwis won the 2021 ICC World Test Championship beating India in the Final.
4. Ravindra Jadeja
The southpaw all-rounder from Saurashtra, Ravindrasinh Anirudhsinh Jadeja was part of the victorious Indian team in the 2008 U19 World Cup. He quickly developed into a regular player for the Indian side. With his simple slow left-arm orthodox bowling, he has grabbed 466 wickets and has scored 4862 runs in 280 matches. His bullet throws and accuracy and athleticism while fielding makes him arguably the best fielder India has ever produced.
5. Tim Southee
Tim Southee represented the Black Caps U19 team in the 2008 U19 World Cup under Kane Williamson. With 17 wickets in 5 matches, Southee was named as the Player of the Series. Since then, he has prospered as a right-arm swing bowler and is a regular in the Kiwi senior squad. He was part of the playing XI which won the inaugural ICC World Test Championship in 2021.
6. Marcus Stoinis
Marcus Peter Stoinis is a Greek-Australian cricketer who was part of the Kangaroos in the 2008 U19 World Cup. He made his Australian debut in a T20I against England in 2015 at Cardiff. Since then, he has proven to be a handy white-ball all-rounder. He bats at top-order for Australia and bowls right-arm medium-fast.
7. Chris Woakes
Chris Woakes played for England in the 2008 U19 World Cup and had a decent outing. In the 3 matches he played, he took 3 wickets with an economy of 4.16. he rose through the ranks in the England senior cricket and is now a regular player in all three formats. He took three wickets each in the semi-final and the final of the victorious 2019 World Cup, England’s maiden title.
8. Paul Stirling
Paul Stirling is arguably Ireland’s best white-ball batter to have played. His global appearance began in the 2008 U19 World Cup in which he scored 87 runs in 6 matches. He made his senior debut in an ODI against New Zealand at Aberdeen in 2008. He holds the record for hitting the most number of fours (302) in T20I history. In 2019, he became the first Irish batter to score the fifties in six consecutive innings.
9. Thisara Perera
Thisara Perera is mainly a right-arm medium-fast bowler but his pyrotechnics at the back end of innings provides him with an edge. He played in 5 matches for Sri Lanka in the 2008 U19 World Cup, scoring 56 runs and taking 2 wickets. He holds the record for the 3rd-highest score in an ODI batting at Number 7 (140 against New Zealand in 2019).
10. Imad Wasim
Although born in Swansea (Wales), Syed Imad Wasim has been playing for Pakistan. He played for Pakistan in the 2008 U19 World Cup in Malaysia, grabbing 8 wickets and scoring 35 runs in 5 matches. He made his debut for the senior side in a T20I against Zimbabwe in 2015 in Lahore. In 2016, he became the first Pakistani spinner to register a five-wicket haul in a T20I match. In 2017, he was ranked as No. 1 T20I Bowler in the ICC Rankings.