2008 U-19 World Cup-winning Indian team – Where are they now?

Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli - 2008 U-19 WC
Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli - 2008 U-19 WC
Krishnan M

While the U-19 Cricket World Cup paves the way for many players to become global superstars, not every player’s transition from the junior to the senior level is smooth after the tournament and if they don’t make big at the senior level, they are soon forgotten by the fans.

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The 2008 edition of the U-19 World Cup is etched in the memories of the Indian fans as it gave them their biggest superstar ever in the form of Virat Kohli, but he was not the only bright light for India in that tournament. There were a lot of other players who grabbed the headlines back then.

Let’s talk about the players who featured for India in the final of the 2008 U-19 World Cup and what they are up to these days:

#1 Openers (Taruwar Kohli, Shreevats Goswami)

Shreevats Goswami
Shreevats Goswami

Taruwar Kohli didn’t have a great time with the bat in the final as he was removed at the score of 1 by Wayne Parnell. However, the right-hander had looked pretty organized in the tournament and seemed to have a bright future ahead of him.

While he did have some decent seasons with the bat in domestic cricket, he never got close to India selection. The 31-year old last played for Mizoram in the 2018-19 domestic season.

Shreevats Goswami scored just six runs in the final but was excellent behind the stumps. Goswami has followed almost the same path as Taruwar. He never knocked on the door of the senior Indian team hard enough to break it down. The southpaw was bought by the Sunrisers Hyderabad for INR 1 Crore in the IPL 2020 auction.

He is Bengal’s second-choice keeper in domestic cricket at the moment, keeping the wickets for his state team when Wriddhiman Saha is unavailable. He recently featured in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as well.

#2 Middle order (Tanmay Srivastava, Virat Kohli)

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli

Tanmay Srivastava was the leading run-scorer in the 2008 U-19 World Cup with 262 runs in six games at an average of 52.40. Srivastava delivered a fine performance in the final as well, scoring 46 runs off 74 balls to guide India to a respectable total of 159 (which proved to be a match-winning one in the end).

He was recently named the captain of the Uttarakhand Ranji Trophy side, following the sacking of another U-19 star, Unmukt Chand.

Virat Kohli made his debut for the senior team of India in 2008 and is currently the captain of the Indian cricket team across all three formats. Kohli has more than 20,000 runs to his name at the senior level and has a penchant for breaking records with ease.

His consistency at the highest level has prompted many in the cricketing fraternity to deem him the greatest batsman of all time. From captaining the U-19 World Cup-winning team to leading the country in all forms of international cricket, it has been quite a journey for King Kohli.

#3 Finishers (Saurabh Tiwary, Manish Pandey)

Manish Pandey
Manish Pandey

Saurabh Tiwary was another one from India’s playing XI in the 2008 U-19 World Cup who got the opportunity to play for the senior team. However, he didn’t earn that opportunity straight away as his captain did. He got it after a couple of good domestic seasons. Tiwary is currently playing domestic cricket for Jharkhand and he has an IPL contract with Mumbai Indians.

Manish Pandey’s career went from strength to strength after the 2008 U-19 World Cup. He established himself as a key player in the Karnataka side and played IPL regularly as well (turning out for teams like Royal Challengers Bangalore, Pune Warriors India, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Sunrisers Hyderabad). Pandey is currently a part of the Indian ODI and T20I squads.

While his spot in either of the two squads is not certain yet, he has been in and around the group. Whenever he has got the opportunity to play for India, he hasn’t quite sealed his berth, but given the fact that he is so consistent in domestic cricket, he has kept himself in the sights of the Indian selectors.

#4 Spinners (Ravindra Jadeja and Iqbal Abdulla)

Ravindra Jadeja - U-19 World cup
Ravindra Jadeja - U-19 World cup

Ravindra Jadeja made a name for himself straight away after the 2008 U-19 World Cup as he played a key role in Rajasthan Royals’ title triumph in the inaugural season of the IPL. He continued putting in excellent performances in first-class cricket too and soon broke into the Indian senior team. He is a part of the Indian team across all three formats of the game at the moment. The southpaw was the no. 1 ODI bowler in the world at one stage of his career and has also scored three triple centuries in first-class cricket, which helped him earn a permanent place in the Indian Test side.

Iqbal Abdulla had a decent IPL career with Kolkata Knight Riders, but once KKR released him, his career went downhill. He played for Royal Challengers Bangalore, but without too much success. Abdulla represented Mumbai in first-class cricket to start his career at the senior level, but he has now moved to the North-East as a professional cricketer. He is playing first-class cricket for Sikkim these days.

#5 Fast bowlers (Pradeep Sangwan, Siddarth Kaul, Ajitesh Argal)

Siddarth Kaul
Siddarth Kaul

Pradeep Sangwan was one of the most promising fast bowlers in that Indian U-19 team as he could swing the ball back into the right-handers. But, he struggled with consistency at the first-class level.

Sangwan still plays first-class cricket for Delhi and was picked by the Delhi franchise for the inaugural IPL edition. The 29-year-old doesn’t have an IPL contract now and is not in the plans of the Indian selectors.

Siddarth Kaul played for India not too long back and he is still not too far away from the national set-up. He is one of those 'fringe' bowlers in white-ball cricket who have the chance to play for India if the first-choice bowlers aren’t fit and available. Kaul has an IPL contract with Sunrisers Hyderabad as well.

Ajitesh Argal’s professional cricketing career is over now. The man of the match for India in the final is now an Inspector in the Income Tax department in Vadodara. Quite a shift from winning your country the U-19 World Cup, isn't it?

Edited by Anurag Sharma


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