The Under-19 Cricket World Cup comes to a conclusion on Sunday, with India taking on Bangladesh in the final out in South Africa. Many teenagers have already made a name for themselves during the ODI tournament, and in years gone by, the competition has proven to be a valuable stepping stone for some of crickets biggest stars. So, ahead of the final, we’ve decided to take a look at 30 of the best players who have gone on to lead full-member sides after starring at the U19 World Cup.
Australia - Aaron Finch
Opening batsmen Aaron Finch turned out in the 2006 U19 World Cup for Australia and has gone on to become one of the world’s most explosive batsmen.
Australia - David Warner
Another powerful Aussie and Finch’s opening partner is David Warner. He also played in the 2006 tournament.
Australia - Steve Smith
Two years later in 2008, Steve Smith came onto the world stage. He initially started as an all-rounder and focused on his leg-spin, however, he’s now one of the best batsmen around!
Australia - Michael Clarke
Prior to Finch, Warner and Smith, Michael Clarke was one of the most exciting prospects to come through the Australian ranks. He captained the U19 side at the 2000 tournament in Sri Lanka and eventually ended up leading the senior side.
Bangladesh - Tamim Iqbal
Tamim Iqbal has been a regular for Bangladesh over the years and initially burst onto the scene in 2006. His impressive displays at the U19 World Cup earned him a call up to the senior side for the 2007 World Cup!
Bangladesh - Shakib Al Hasan
Now one of the best all-rounders, Shakib Al Hasan joined Iqbal at the 2006 U19 World Cup. Last year, Shakib became the first cricketer to score 600 runs and take 10 wickets in a single World Cup.
Bangladesh - Mushfiqur Rahim
Batsman and wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim led Shakib and Iqbal at the 2006 U19 World Cup and has also gone on to turn out for his country at senior level.
England - Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook was known for his Test batting during his international career, but he also made his name at the 2004 U19 World Cup in Bangladesh.
England - Graeme Swann
Spinner Graeme Swann was part of the England side who won the 1998 U19 World Cup in South Africa. Swann took six wickets in five matches and went on to become one of England’s most decorated bowlers.
England - Eoin Morgan
Eoin Morgan, who led England to World Cup glory last year, actually turned out for Ireland at the U19 event in 2006. He even played against England in that tournament but lost by four runs.
England - Joe Root
Joe Root, now England’s Test captain, turned out in the 2010 tournament in New Zealand. He produced some eye-catching innings as England exited the competition at the quarter-final stages.
England - Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler also played in the 2010 U19 tournament. He now turns out for England at all levels and has captained his country on several occasions.
India - Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli, now recognised as one of the best players in the world, burst onto the scene during the U19 World Cup in Malaysia. He captained his country to glory in 2008 and has gone from strength to strength in all formats.
India - Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina is now one of India’s most experienced stars, but back in 2004, he was just starting out! His impressive displays at the U19 World Cup in Bangladesh earned him a senior call up 12 months later and he hasn’t looked back.
India - Virender Sehwag
One of the first Indian stars to breakthrough as a result of the U19 World Cup was Virender Sehwag. He played in the 1998 event and went on to score over 17,000 runs for his country over a 14-year period.
India - Rohit Sharma
India were runners-up at the 2006 U19 World Cup, one where opening batsman Rohit Sharma made his name. Now 32, Sharma is still going strong!
Ireland - William Porterfield
William Porterfield has rightly been regarded as one of Ireland’s cricketing heroes over the last 15 years and his career really started at the 2004 U19 World Cup. He earned a senior call up two years later and has been an ever-present figure in all formats.
Ireland - Kevin O’Brien
Alongside Porterfield at the 2004 U19 World Cup was Kevin O’Brien. His career highlight came at the 2011 World Cup when he scored a memorable century against England.
New Zealand - Brendon McCullum
Brendon McCullum is known as being one of the most powerful batsmen over the last 20 years, and his career really started at the U19 World Cup in 2000. McCullum went on to lead his country in all formats, going down as a true legend following his international retirement in 2015.
New Zealand - Ross Taylor
Another New Zealand icon and one who is still playing for his country is Ross Taylor. The batsman’s career really started at the 2002 U19 World Cup, where he captained his country on home soil.
New Zealand - Kane Williamson
The 2008 U19 World Cup was arguably the greatest for batsmen to make their name. Alongside Steve Smith and Virat Kohli was Kane Williamson, who led New Zealand in Malaysia. Like Kohli, Williamson now leads his country at senior level.
Pakistan - Inzamam-ul-Haq
In the first U19 World Cup back in 1988, Pakistan’s Inzamam-ul-Haq certainly made his mark. He is the only Pakistani batsman to score 20,000 runs in international cricket and captained his country for four years.
Pakistan - Sarfraz Ahmed
Sarfraz Ahmed led his country at the World Cup last year, but one of his career highlights would’ve been at the very beginning. At the 2006 U19 World Cup, he was also captain and helped Pakistan defend their title.
Sri Lanka - Sanath Jayasuriya
Sanath Jayasuriya was known for his match-winning displays in ODI cricket, and that all started during the first U19 World Cup. He stood out in the Sri Lanka side and was quickly called up to the senior ‘B’ side. From there, he scored two double centuries early on, and it wasn’t long until he was promoted again.
Sri Lanka - Angelo Mathews
All-rounder Angelo Mathews captained his country on home soil during the 2006 U19 World Cup. He’d then go on to become a key member in all formats for his country.
Sri Lanka - Dinesh Chandimal
Former senior Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal first made his name known at the 2008 U19 World Cup with some eye-catching displays with both bat and gloves. He was involved in a remarkable seven dismissals against Australia, earning the Player of the Match award as a result.
South Africa - Graeme Smith
South Africa great Graeme Smith was probably the biggest star at the 2000 U19 World Cup, scoring the most runs in Sri Lanka. He went on to become a legend for his country and is now a director.
South Africa - Hashim Amla
Another South Africa legend who is actually still playing is Hashim Amla. The batsmen, who is technically excellent, led his country during the 2002 U19 World Cup, where they narrowly lost to Australia in the final.
West Indies - Brian Lara
Arguably one of the greatest to ever take to the field, Brian Lara also made his name at the U19 World Cup. The West Indies batsman first turned out for the youth side at the age of 15 before representing the Windies during the 1988 World Cup.
West Indies - Chris Gayle
We’ve definitely saved one of the best until last with Chris Gayle. The T20 specialist scored the most runs in the 1998 U19 World Cup and went on to become one of cricket’s all-time greats.