In it's twelve year long history, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has proven to be a great platform for young and budding Indian talent to not just rub shoulders with the greats of the game but also showcase their cricketing skills and grab the attention of the millions watching.
Through the IPL, many Indian cricketers who would have otherwise found it difficult to break through domestic cricket and enter the national team have been able to make a case for themselves. Additionally, it has been a great opportunity for cricketers to earn lucrative contracts while displaying their skillset.
In this article, we have a look at how have India's U-19 World Cup captains fared over the years in the IPL. While a few of them have turned themselves into household names, others could not really seize the opportunity and have therefore faded away.
It is noteworthy to mention that Amit Pagnis, the man who led India in the first ever U-19 World Cup back in 1998, is the only player to have had no association with the IPL whatsoever.
#1 Mohammad Kaif
Mohammad Kaif interestingly led the India U-15 team to a World Cup win in 1995 before repeating the feat with the Indian U-19 team in the 2000 World Cup. It would have been a deadly treble for him had India won the ICC World Cup in 2003.
Kaif began his IPL career with the Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural edition and once again tasted glory. However, his contribution to the win was negligible given that he scored just 176 runs @ 16 runs per dismissal at a strike rate of 102.92, even though he played every game for the Royals that season.
Not getting to play a single game in 2009, Kaif was released by the Royals to be acquired by Kings XI Punjab in 2010. Here too his participation was limited to just three games with no impact.
The Uttar Pradesh batsman then moved to Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2011, featuring in eight games and amassing all but 41 runs. He played his last IPL game for RCB in 2012. Since then, Kaif has donned the hats of a cricket expert, commentator and assistant coach, keeping him involved with the league.
After being the assistant coach for Gujarat Lions in 2017, he was appointed to a similar role for the Delhi Capitals prior to the 2019 season, and he continues to assist Ricky Ponting at DC.
#2 Parthiv Patel
Parthiv Patel's U-19 India team in 2002 bowed out of the tournament in the semi-final while defending the title. The tournament was enough to launch the Gujarat wicketkeeper's international career in his teenage years.
Patel has had a topsy-turvy ride in the IPL, given that he has managed to be a member of six franchises across his career. Although he has not done much to garner attention, his 2848 aggregate runs at a strike rate in excess of 120 has just about helped him to feature in every IPL season and Patel has 139 matches behind him.
Patel has thrice won the championship, first in 2010 with the Chennai Super Kings and then with the Mumbai Indians in 2015 and 2017. Currently, he is a part of the RCB line up that is due to participate in IPL 2020.
#3 Ambati Rayudu
In the 2004 edition of the U-19 World Cup, Hyderabad born Ambati Rayudu led India to the semi-final of the tournament, where they lost to arch-rivals Pakistan.
Rayadu's journey was marked by battling a loss of form, disagreements with officials and state associations, playing for the rebel Indian Cricket League, and finally being offered amnesty by the BCCI to return to domestic cricket.
One of the cricketers to benefit most from the IPL, Ambati Rayudu first featured in the 2010 season of the IPL, when he turned up for the Mumbai Indians, with whom he went on to win three titles in 2013, 2015 and 2017.
His success as a middle order batsman, who helped Mumbai cross the finish line many-a-time, meant that he stayed with them for eight consecutive seasons, amassing a mammoth 2416 runs.
In fact, after moving to CSK in 2018, Rayadu produced his best season with the bat, as he scored 602 runs at a strike rate just shy of 150, helping CSK win their third title, and in turn winning his fourth.
It would be fair to say that the IPL gave Rayudu not just the chance to showcase himself and register himself in the minds of cricket fans, but it also proved to be the reason he went on to play international cricket.
#4 Ravikant Shukla
Perhaps one of the few names on this list that most people would not have heard of, Uttar Pradesh born left handed-middle order batsman Ravikant Shukla led the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma and Piyush Chawla in the 2006 U-19 World Cup, which India ended as runners ups.
Although he never played a single IPL game, he was a member of the Kings XI Punjab squad in the 2009 edition. Poor performances in the domestic circuit meant that Shukla simply faded away from the cricket scene.
#5 Virat Kohli
Words fall short when one starts heaping praise on the Indian and RCB captain, who has undoubtedly been the most successful Indian U-19 World Cup captain.
However, when we limit the discussion to the IPL, Kohli's personal success is somewhat dampened by his inability to have led RCB to a single title in twelve editions. His 5412 runs have ensured that he is atop the all time run's tally for the league, but it has never been enough for his side to achieve glory.
As loyal RCB fans ready themselves to get behind their team once again, they will not just expect the highest paid IPL cricketer to entertain them with the bat, but also bring home the trophy.