It is a common notion with the U-19 teams that tour World Cups that most of the players don’t translate it to the national team. Historically, the U-19 World Cup teams of almost all nations have had just 3-4 players making it to the national team. There is also a report which states that if more than 6 players from an U-19 team make it to the national squad, that team can be deemed successful.
But there’s one Indian team which changed these notions. The 2004 U-19 World Cup team of India that had the then superstars.Embed from Getty Images
The Game Changer India U-19 Team
U-19 teams are not discussed much by the masses, after all, many people call it the ‘cricket for kids’. But there were a lot of expectations from the 2004 U-19 team because it had 3 players who were supposed to make it big for India: Ambati Rayudu, Shikhar Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik.
These three were the ‘to-be’ rockstars of Indian cricket. The selectors had already seen a Sachin Tendulkar, a Sourav Ganguly and a wicket-keeper who would re-write history in these three.
This team was expected to win the U-19 World Cup by putting great performances, an it did, to an extent. It won all the games in the qualifying stages including a 270-run victory over Scotland.Embed from Getty Images
In the Group Stage, India lost the first match to South Africa by a margin of only 3 runs but ended up winning the remaining matches by huge margin and topping the table.
India’s success was fuelled by Dhawan’s batting and Rayudu’s captaincy, these two had set huge benchmarks on the international stage. However, just a day before the much anticipated semi-final between India and Pakistan, the captain Rayudu was handed a one-match ban for wasting time on the field and the vice-captain Dinesh Karthik was made the captain and India unfortunately lost the match.
While the India U-19 team returned back without a trophy, it still has the record of producing most international players for a U-19 World Cup team. Let’s have a look at the players who made it to the national team:
1. Ambati Rayudu
This guy was a rockstar back then, the ‘next-big-thing’ of Indian cricket. He was also the captain of this team. While he didn’t do justice to the hopes laid on his batting in this tournament, his aggressive captaincy was a revelation. He also picked a few wickets as a bowler.
Many still believe that he would have won the trophy for India if not banned for the semi-finals, but that is a discussion for later.Embed from Getty Images
Even his journey with the Indian national team has been a bumpy ride. While he did make his debut very late in the international arena, he was sidelined from the team due to many controversies. He still hopes to make a comeback in the ODI team.
2. Dinesh Karthik
Karthik was another ‘expected-to-be-future-superstar’ from this team. Many felt that he was India’s answer to Adam Gilchrist, a top-class wicket-keeper with equally good batting abilities. Barring a match, the tournament didn’t go well for him too.Embed from Getty Images
Karthik too has had a bumpy ride in the Indian team. He made his debut in the Indian team at a very young age but was sidelined when MS Dhoni came into prominence. Post MSD’s retirement, he’s again in the selectors’ radar, but has a tough competition from youngsters now.
3. Shikhar Dhawan
Dhawan was supposed to be India’s third-best batsman following Rayudu and Karthik, and he stunned all. He was the leading run-scorer of the tournament with three centuries and 505 runs to his name.Embed from Getty Images
Currently, although he is not a part of the Indian Test team, he still is a key member in the limited-overs.
4. Suresh Raina
Raina was a surprise package in that World Cup. He was the second-best for India among the run-scorers and was among the wickets too. His fielding too won a lot of accolades.Embed from Getty Images
Suresh Raina recently retired from international cricket after a moderately successful Test career and a successful ODI career, which included the 2011 World Cup win.
5. Robin Uthappa
Selected as a back-up wicket-keeper, Uthappa did put up some fine performances with the bat. He was India’s opener along with Shikhar DhawanEmbed from Getty Images
Having got quite a few chances to prove himself, Uthappa hasn’t really shone in Tests or ODIs. He currently plays for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.
6. R. P. Singh
He was expected to be among the leading wicket-takers of the tournament, but he disappointed picking 8 wickets in 7 matches.Embed from Getty Images
Singh had a moderately successful international campaign, but is more remembered for being the part of the Deccan Chargers team in 2009’s IPL in which he won the Purple Cap.
7. Faiz Fazal
He was the only player from the Indian squad who did not get to play a match in the tournament.Embed from Getty Images
He is considered a ‘one-match-wonder’ in international cricket too. Fazal got to play only one ODI for India, in which he scored 55 runs against Zimbabwe. He was never recalled in the team later. He is still considered a domestic giant in India.
8. V. R. V. Singh
VRV got to play only a single match in that tournament in which he was criticised for leaking a lot of runs.Embed from Getty Images
He also played for India in 5 Tests and 2 ODIs with no much success to show.
These were the players who made it to the national team, a record 8 players out of 15! Not only India, this World Cup did have future International players from other teams as well such as Tim Paine, Alastair Cook, Moises Henriques, Angelo Mathews, Farveez Maharoof, Lendl Simmons and Brendon Taylor among others.
Featured Image: BCCI/Twitter
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