The first steps to big dreams: A history of ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cups

The first steps to big dreams: A history of ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cups

The 15th edition of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup is around the corner, with emerging talents from 16 teams gearing up to compete for the coveted title in South Africa.

The tournament began in 1988, and has seen seven different winners in the 14 editions so far. India lead the way with five titles to their name, followed by Australia (3), Pakistan (2), Bangladesh, South Africa, West Indies and England (1 each).

And over the years, the tournament has gone through many iterations, providing a foundational stage for many of the game’s superstars.

It’s part of the magic of the U19 Cricket World Cup. It has always served as a platform for catapulting budding cricketers into the limelight, paving the way for some of the sport’s most prominent names.

As we approach the 2024 edition, let’s reflect on the rich history of each of the 14 preceding tournaments.

1988 (Winners: Australia)

The inaugural edition of the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup, then known as the Youth World Cup, was hosted to celebrate Australia’s Bicentenary in the land Down Under.

The tournament featured seven Test-playing nations alongside a composite team comprising ICC’s Associate Members.

Hosts Australia defeated Pakistan by 5 wickets in the Final to win the inaugural edition of the tournament.

Notable international stars from the Class of 1988: Nasser Hussain, Michael Atherton, Chris Cairns, Mushtaq Ahmed, Sanath Jayasuriya, Brian Lara.

1998 (Winners: England)

It took another 10 years before another edition of the U19 World Cup was played and it was South Africa who were hosting an ICC tournament for the very first time.

The number of teams doubled from the first edition, with 16 teams participating in the tournament.

In this edition, the charismatic ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle left his mark, emerging as the highest run-scorer.

Meanwhile, his West Indian teammate, Ramnaresh Sarwan, who later became one of the

most reliable batters for the West Indies, shared the distinction of being the leading wicket- taker (16) with Zimbabwe’s Mluleki Nkala.

England triumphed over New Zealand in the finale by seven wickets at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, their maiden and only U19 World Cup win to date.

Notable international stars from the Class of 1998: Graeme Swann, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Collins Obuya, Kyle Mills, Imran Tahir, Shoaib Malik, Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan.

2000 (Winners: India)

Sri Lanka hosted the third edition of the tournament, where neighbours India got their hands on the trophy for the first time – a feat they went on to achieve four more times – after defeating the hosts by six wickets in the Final.

Yuvraj Singh was named the Player of the Tournament, a feat he famously repeated 11 years later at the highest level as India lifted the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. South Africa’s

Graeme Smith finished as the leading run-getter.

Notable international stars from the Class of 2000: Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson, Shane Watson, Ian Bell, Yuvraj Singh, Niall O’Brien, Brendon McCullum, Graeme Smith, Jonathan Trott, Tatenda Taibu.

2002 (Winners: Australia)

Australia were crowned two-time Champions in a tournament hosted by their Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand for the very first time.

Demonstrating their dominance, Australia maintained an undefeated record throughout the competition and sealed their triumph with a seven-wicket win over South Africa in the final.

Tatenda Taibu took home the Player of the Tournament while Australia captain Cameron White led by example, finishing as the highest run-getter.

Notable international stars from the Class of 2002: Cameron White, George Bailey, Mashrafe Mortaza, Suresh Raina, Ross Taylor, Umar Gul, Kyle Coetzer, Hashim Amla, Upul Tharanga, Dwayne Bravo, Daren Sammy.

2004 (Winners: Pakistan)

The fifth edition of the U19 World Cup, hosted by Bangladesh, marked the debut of Uganda in the tournament.

A new winner was guaranteed after two first-time finalists emerged. Pakistan got their hands on the trophy for the first time, clinching the title after beating West Indies in the final in Dhaka.

India’s Shikhar Dhawan finished as the highest run-getter and was named the Player of the Tournament.

Notable international stars from the Class of 2004: Alastair Cook, Shikhar Dhawan, Dinesh Karthik, Eoin Morgan, Wahab Riaz, Vernon Philander, Angelo Mathews, Craig Ervine.

2006 (Winners: Pakistan)

In a historic achievement, Pakistan became the first team to successfully defend their U19 Cricket World Cup title by defeating arch-rivals India in the final held in Colombo.

Pakistan were given no chance after they set India a target of just 110 in the finale. However, they delivered a remarkable bowling performance, dismantling the Indian batting lineup with the first six wickets falling for a mere nine runs.

India were ultimately bowled out for 71, securing Pakistan’s back-to-back titles and cementing their place in history.

Cheteshwar Pujara was the leading run-scorer and the Player of the Tournament.

Notable international stars from the Class of 2006: Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Moeen Ali, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Tim Southee, Sarfraz Ahmed, Dean Elgar, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard.

2008 (Winners: India)

India’s misery in 2006 turned to glory in 2008 when they got their hands on the trophy for the second time under the leadership of the flamboyant Virat Kohli.

India remained undefeated in the tournament, beating South Africa by 12 runs in a rain- truncated game decided by DLS.

The 2008 U19 World Cup is widely remembered for catapulting three of the modern-day ‘Fab

Four’ into the limelight. Kane Williamson was the opposite number to Virat Kohli in the semi-final while Steve Smith, then known more for his all-round ability, made an impact with the bat and ball throughout the tournament.

Notable international stars from the Class of 2008: Josh Hazlewood, Steve Smith, Chris Woakes, Virat Kohli, Paul Stirling, Kane Williamson, Shan Masood, Kusal Perera, Darren Bravo.

2010 (Winners: Australia)

In a repeat of what happened in 2002, Australia won the U19 World Cup hosted by neighbours New Zealand.

It was a low-scoring affair in the final, with Josh Hazlewood’s four-wicket haul helping Australia, led by Mitchell Marsh, defend a target of 208 against Pakistan.

The tournament also marked the debut of Afghanistan at the U19 level.

Notable international stars from the Class of 2010: Hashmatullah Shahidi, Jos Buttler, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, KL Rahul, Mitchell Marsh, Adam Zampa, Tom Latham, Babar Azam, Jason Holder

2012 (Winners: India)

The U19 Cricket World Cup returned to Australia for the first time since its inaugural edition.

In the final held in Queensland, India secured a six-wicket victory over the host country, Australia, marking their third U19 World Cup triumph and matching their feat from the inaugural edition.

Notable international stars from the Class of 2012: Travis Head, Imam-ul-Haq, Ish Sodhi, Akeal Hosein, Ryan Burl, Litton Das, Taskin Ahmed, Gerhard Erasmus.

2014 (Winners: South Africa)

South Africa enjoyed an unbeaten run en route to their maiden U19 Cricket World Cup title.

They defeated Pakistan by six wickets in Dubai to get their hands on the trophy.

Aiden Markram played a pivotal role in the final, leading by example with a score of 66* and earning the additional honour of being named the Player of the Tournament.

The tournament is also remembered for the emergence of Kagiso Rabada as a bowler of highcalibre, his 6/25 in the semifinal dismantling Australia.

Notable international stars from the Class of 2014: Shreyas Iyer, Kuldeep Yadav, Mustafizur Rahman, Aiden Markram, Kagiso Rabada, Nicholas Pooran, Kyle Jamieson, Kusal Mendis, Shimron Hetmyer.

2016 (Winners: West Indies)

The 2016 Under-19 Cricket World Cup returned to Bangladesh for the first time since the 2004 edition.

Defending champions South Africa faced an unexpected exit in the group stages, succumbing to surprise defeats against Bangladesh and Namibia.

The final showdown featured West Indies and India, with the West Indies securing their first U19 World Cup title with a five-wicket victory in Dhaka after a gritty display by their batters.

Notable international stars from the Class of 2016: Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Rashid Khan, Shadab Khan, Wanindu Hasaranga, Sam Curran, Alzarri Joseph, Rishabh Pant, Josh Little, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra.

2018 (Winners: India)

New Zealand became the first country to host the U19 World Cup thrice, having previously held the tournament in 2002 and 2010.

For the second year in a row, the defending champions, this time West Indies, crashed out of the group stages.

In the final, India beat Australia by eight wickets to become four-time champions, the most by any side.

Notable international stars from the Class of 2018: Gerald Coetzee, Alick Athanaze, Shubman Gill, Arshdeep Singh, Towhid Hridoy, Harry Brook, Naveen-ul-Haq, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Harry Tector, Shaheen Afridi.

2020 (Winners: Bangladesh)

The 2020 U19 World Cup witnessed Bangladesh securing their first-ever victory in an ICC event at any level.

Finalists India showcased their supremacy throughout the tournament under the leadership of Priyam Garg. Breaking records became a routine for his team as they overwhelmed Japan, securing victory with a remarkable 271 balls to spare — the second-highest record in Youth ODIs to date.

Additionally, India achieved the distinction of being the first and only team, to date, to surpass 200 victories at the U19 level during the course of the tournament.

However, on the day of the final, Bangladesh triumphed over powerhouse India in a tense, low-scoring clash, with a three-wicket win by the DLS method.

The tournament saw the debut of two teams, Nigeria and Japan, who qualified through regional qualifiers.

Notable international stars from the Class of 2020: Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Tanveer Sangha, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammad Wasim, Matheesha Pathirana, Jayden Seales.

2022 (Winners: India)

West Indies hosted the U19 Cricket World Cup for the first time in history.

One of the biggest highlights of the tournament was the performance of Afghanistan, who made it past the group stage and went into the semi-final for the very first time, beating Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka along the way.

In the semi-final clash against England, Afghanistan displayed resilience, coming close to a victory but ultimately falling short.

Having faltered in the previous edition on the last step, India redeemed themselves by securing the title against England in the final, marking their fifth U19 World Cup triumph.

The event unfolded amid the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to New Zealand’s withdrawal due to stringent quarantine restrictions. Scotland stepped in as a replacement in the tournament.

Notable international stars from the Class of 2022: Tanzim Hasan Sakib, Rehan Ahmed, Dunith Wellalage, Dewald Brevis.

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