Every player who breaks into the senior squad of India in any of the limited over formats mostly goes through being a player for India's U-19 squad as well.
We do have the exceptions like Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, etc but a lot of India's great players have represented India from such a tender age. So today, we will have a look at some of the big names who led India's U-19 side.
1) Ravi Shastri
The former Indian head coach and 1983 World Cup winner, Ravi Shastri also led India's U-19 side. It was unfortunate that India lost the only game he captained.
The game was played in 1981. Shastri went on to be an important player for India not just for a year or two but much more than that. He showed up especially on occasions when he was sidelined with unattended reasons but no one could keep him away from expressing his batting.
He also scored some crucial 100s against Pakistan when India were in trouble. Did you know Ravi Shastri led India in U-19 ever?
2) Rahul Dravid
"The Wall" of World Cricket, Rahul Dravid was also the U-19 Indian team's skipper. Can you guess the year? Well, the year was 1992.
He led India in only three matches, winning two and losing one. It seems that some people already knew that he could lead the senior Indian squad in the future. And just as anticipated, Rahul Dravid led India in Tests and ODIs.
He wasn't the most successful as far as numbers are concerned but what he brought to the team was discipline and work ethics. However, Dravid's connection with India U-19 didn't end until a month ago when he took over as India's Head Coach.
3) Virat Kohli
From winning the Under-19 World Cup in 2008 to becoming one of the greatest batsman of all time, #ViratKohli is undoubtedly Indian cricket's most precious gem. On his 31st birthday, let's revisit the inspiring journey of this global superstar. #KingKohli #HappyBirthdayVirat pic.twitter.com/axphVnnkeB— Cricbuzz (@cricbuzz) November 5, 2019
One of India's most prominent skippers, Kohli made his mark right from his U-19 days. Kohli led U-19 India in 11 matches in 2008, winning 11 matches and losing none.
India also won the T20 World Cup under him and since that day Kohli never looked back. He kept excelling in every stage of his career and went on to become not just one of the best batsmen in the world but one of the world's most influential captains.
However, did you know that even Ravindra Jadeja has led India in U-19? Only in one match in 2007. In 2006-2007, Piyush Chawla and in 2003-04 even Ambati Rayudu led India in 11 and 10 matches respectively.
4) Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw became India's U-19 skipper in 2017-2018 and he led India for 11 games. In those 11 games, he was only the second captain after Kohli to have been undefeated in every game as the skipper. Not just that, India also lifted the U19 World Cup in his reign.
Considering Prithvi's potential, there were doubts over his form at the beginning of his senior international debut but Shaw seems to have settled now. It looks quite likely that he will be one of India's vital players in the upcoming years.
Rishabh Pant led the Indian squad in a single game in 2015, while Ishan Kishan led India in 2015-16 in 8 games.
Priyam Garg, another promising Indian talent, led India in 2019-20. He was the captain for 20 games including the U19 T20 World Cup but unfortunately, India lost in the finals to Bangladesh. In the 20 games, he led, India won 16 and lost 4.
As far as the 2022 U19 T20 World Cup is concerned, Yash Dhull is chosen to lead India's talented prospects. Hopefully, he will continue the tradition of entering senior international cricket and the IPL soon.
Stay tuned with Cricwizz for more updates.
Cover Credits: BCCIofficial