Youth cricket is a hotbed of talent. Following youth cricket closely is likely to give fans an insight into the future prospects of world cricket. Although the viewership of youth cricket is limited, tournaments like the U-19 World Cup have helped greatly in increasing it. The U-19 World Cup is organized by the ICC after every two years. Players who feature in it are perhaps the best young talents of their countries. Despite being touted as future stars, many of those players never make it big while some of them do deliver upon the expectations.
A special category of promising players includes the captains of the U-19 World Cup teams. They are the most prominent figures of their teams, and perhaps the most exciting future prospects for the cricket fraternity.
Here, we will gaze through five such U-19 World Cup captains who were not fazed by expectations. Instead, they lived up to them and became star senior cricketers.
Hashim Amla captained the South African squad in the 2002 U-19 World Cup. A promising youngster then, Amla is now a name to reckon with in all three formats of the game and is well ahead on his way to becoming one of the best ever to have donned the South African jersey. Barring fluctuations in his form in the past couple of years, Amla, who led the U-19 squad to the World Cup final, has invariably been consistent. He is one of the mainstays of South African batting lineup in all three formats.
By virtue of his consistency in the domestic circuit, Amla proved himself worthy of a selection in the senior cricket team. His temperament combined with a classical approach to batting apparently meant that he was suitable only for Test matches. But he turned out to be an exciting limited-overs player as well. Amla averages 50 and 48 in ODIs and Tests respectively. Even in T20s, he averages over 30, and scores at a brisk rate of 132 runs per 100 balls. For South Africa to win the World Cup next year, Amla has to be at his very best.