The Under 19 World Cup has always proved to be one of the most exciting tournaments in the world of cricket. The passion and the excitement shown by the youngsters have truly been a delight to watch over the years.
We have seen eleven U-19 World Cups take place with the first edition of the tournament taking place way back in 1988 where the Australians came out victorious. The next World Cup took place only ten years after that and has been taking place every two years since then.
India have been the most successful team, winning the tournament four times - in 2000, 2008, and 2012, 2018 under the captaincy of Mohammed Kaif, Virat Kohli, Unmukt Chand and Prithvi Shaw respectively.
While some of these World Cup captains went on to represent India and become hugely successful, there have been a few of them who have faded away and not been performing too well in the domestic circuit as well.
In this article, we take a look at all of India’s Under 19 captains, how they performed during the U-19 World Cup, and what they are currently doing.
# 1 1988 – Myluahanan Senthilnathan
1988 saw the first-ever World Cup take place for the U-19 sides. Known as the Youth World Cup back then, India performed poorly as they finished in 6th place out of the eight teams that took part in the tournament. Led by Myluahanan Senthilnathan, the youth team were trying to take inspiration from the senior side who were performing reasonably well around that time.
Senthilnathan was the highest run-getter for India in the tournament with 149 runs to his name in 6 matches. However, he did not represent India in Tests, or ODIs. The youth squad included a few players such as Nayan Mongia, Pravin Amre, and SLV Raju who went on to represent India in the future.
After the 1988 world cup, Senthilnathan continued to play first-class cricket Goa and Tamil Nadu and played his last game in the 1995-96 season. He is currently the chief coach of the MRF pace foundation, which helps in nurturing and developing the skills of young Indian cricketers.
#2 1998 – Amit Pagnis
After a ten year gap, The MTN U-19 World Cup was held in South Africa. India performed much better than what they did in 1988 but were knocked out in the stage before the final due to their poor net run-rate. The squad included Harbhajan Singh and Virender Sehwag who went on to become legends for the Indian cricket team.
Unfortunately, Amit Pagnis failed to make it big as he never featured for the Indian cricket team. He performed quite poorly in the World Cup as well as he managed 175 runs in 6 innings at an average of 29.16.
After the World Cup, he continued to play first-class cricket for Mumbai. He did not have a great batting average at the domestic level as well as he managed 5851 runs in 95 matches. He switched teams later on his career and retired after playing for Railways in 2008. He is currently a cricket coach in Mumbai and was seen coaching Under-25 cricketers at the Maharashtra Cricket Association in 2014.
#3 2000 – Mohammad Kaif
One of the best fielders the Indian cricket team has ever produced, Kaif led India to world cup success in 2000. The squad included Yuvraj Singh who went on to become one of India’s greatest ever limited-overs cricketer and who continues to shine for the Men in Blue.
After ending up as the highest run-scorer in the 1998 version, Kaif did not perform as well in 2000 as he managed to score 170 runs in 8 matches at an average of 34.57.
Kaif did not have a long career with the Men in Blue as his inconsistent performances led to him being dropped from the side shortly after the World Cup. He continues to play cricket to date and is the captain of the Chattisgarh state team.
#4 2002 – Parthiv Patel
After Nayan Mongia’s retirement, India’s search for a wicket-keeper batsman came to an end when Parthiv Patel became India’s youngest debutant in 2002. He captained the U-19 side in the U-19 World Cup that year. Unfortunately, India were knocked out by South Africa in the semifinals of the tournament.
He did not enjoy too much success with the Indian side, and was replaced by MS Dhoni in 2004. Parthiv Patel made a comeback to the Indian Test side against England in November in 2016 after Wriddhiman Saha injured himself. He was not able to cement his position in Saha's absence and now plays in the IPL and the domestic circuits.
#5 2004 – Ambati Rayadu
Ambati Rayadu is one of the few players who must feel hard done by the fact that he has hardly ever played for the Indian cricket team despite consistently performing well at the domestic level.
He led India to the semifinals of the 2004 U-19 World Cup where India ended up losing to their arch-rivals Pakistan. He had an average tournament as he ended up with 149 runs in 6 innings at an average of 24.83.
After the World Cup, Rayadu went on to play first-class cricket for Hyderabad and Baroda. After immense success with his state side and with the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, he earned a call-up to the national side in 2013. However, he could not deliver on what was hoped from him. Rayudu fell into a myriad of controversies including bouts of rage, that included the 3-D glasses fiasco, which turned out to be the end of his national career.
#6 2006 – Ravikant Shukla
Out of all the cricketers on this list, Shukla is the one who has the poorest record. He led India to the final of the 2006 edition of the U-19 World Cup, but India ended up losing to Pakistan once again. Shukla had a miserable as he scored only 53 runs in 5 innings at an average of 10.60.
The Indian U-19 squad included the likes of Cheteswar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, Rohit Sharma, and Piyush Chawla who all went on to represent India in the years to come.
After the tournament, Shukla went on to first-class cricket for Uttar Pradesh but achieved very little success there as well as he managed only two centuries in his entire career. Having played his last first-class match for Goa in 2014.
#7 2008 – Virat Kohli
Kohli has undoubtedly been the most successful cricketer in this whole list. After successfully leading India to World Cup success in 2008, he went on to represent India in all three formats and is currently one of the best batsmen in the world.
He had a good run in the 2008 tournament as he scored 235 runs in 6 matches at an average of 47 with one century to his name.
Currently, Kohli is the captain of the Indian cricket team in all the three formats of the game. He took over as Test captain in 2014 and became the limited-overs captainlater on after MS Dhoni stepped down.
#8 2010 – Ashok Menaria
This Rajasthan cricketer was destined to have a bright future ahead of him, but things did not go as planned as he has not yet made a debut for the Indian cricket team. He led India to the quarter-finals of the 2010 U-19 World Cup where India ended up losing to Pakistan for the fourth time in eight years.
Menaria had an extremely poor tournament with the bat as he scored only 31 runs in 5 innings, but he performed decently well with the ball with six wickets in six matches. Mandeep Singh, who is a part of India’s T20 squad now was the find of the tournament for India back then.
Currently, the 29-year-old plays for his state Rajasthan in the domestic circuit where he has amassed 4677 runs in 79 matches at an average of just below 39.
#9 2012 – Unmukt Chand
Four years after Virat Kohli led India to World Cup success in South Africa, it was another Delhi lad who did the same in 2012. Unmukt Chand was compared to Kohli after India’s magnificent performance in the tournament and people predicted him to be Indian cricket’s next big thing.
He had an impressive run in the tournament as well as he managed 246 runs in 6 innings at an average of 49.20. He guided India to victory in the final against Australia where he scored an unbeaten century.
However, his performances for the Delhi state team in the domestic circuit have not been too great as he has scored 3379 runs in 67 matches at an average of 31. Due to this, he has not yet made debut for the senior side.
#10 2014 – Vijay Zol
Two years after Unmukt Chand’s side lifted the trophy in Australia, India failed to defend their trophy as they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by England despite winning all their group stage games. They ended up winning the 5th place play-off match after defeating West Indies.
Captaining the side back then was Maharashtra’s Vijay Zol. He had an average tournament as he managed to score only 120 runs in 5 matches at an average of 24. Deepak Hooda, Sarfaraz Khan, and Shreyas Iyer were the prominent names to have emerged from India’s squad.
Currently, Zol continues to play for Maharashtra in the domestic circuit and has not enjoyed too much success with them as he has 733 runs in 15 matches at an average of 35.
#11 2016 – Ishan Kishan
With the tournament being held in Bangladesh, India performed exceptionally well but were denied victory by a dominant West Indies side in the final of the tournament.
Ishan Kishan, who was the captain of the side, had a tournament to forget as he scored only 73 runs in 6 matches at an average of 12.16. Sarfaraz Khan who played in the 2014 edition as well, was the top run-scorer in the tournament. India also found a gem in Rishabh Pant, who made his T20 debut against England in January 2017.
After a poor World Cup, Kishan worked on his batting and has proved his worth for Jharkhand in the domestic circuit. He has scored 2665 runs in 44 matches for the state side at an average of 37. After a good couple of Ranji seasons, he played for Mumbai Indians in the IPL and has been in the fringes of the Indian national team.
#12 2008 – Prithvi Shaw
2018 was a fantastic year for young Prithvi Shaw. After winning the U-19 World Cup with the likes of Manjot Kalra and Shubhman Gill, Shaw translated his credentials into a Test debut against West Indies in October 2018. In the process, Shaw became the second-youngest player to score a century for India, after Sachin Tendulkar.
In the same year he was awarded an IPL contract with the Delhi daredevils for a sum of ₹1.2 crores.
The records did not stop there; he was the youngest Indian to have scored a century on debut, and also the youngest player to open the batting in the IPL history.
While he did well in the IPL and the domestic circuit, he had mixed fortunes in the international circuit.
In the recent times, Shaw has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, starting with a send back from the Australia series last year in the pretext of an 'ankle injury' and the latest fiasco of doping that saw him getting banned for eight months.
#13 – 2020 Priyam Garg
Priyam Garg's India lost an absolute thriller against Bangladesh in the 2020 U-19 World Cup held in South Africa. Despite relatively young, Garg's First Class statistics speak for themselves. Playing for Uttar Pradesh, Garg averages 66.69 with the highest score of 206.
Speaking about Garg UP captain, Akshdeep Nath had earlier said that, Garg was way beyond his years.
After scoring truckload of runs in the domestic and sub senior levels, Garg was awarded an IPL contract in December 2019.