The 2020 U-19 World Cup recently came to an end with Bangladesh U-19s upsetting the heavyweights, India to clinch their maiden U-19 World Cup trophy. This was Bangladesh’s first-ever major win in the history of ICC tournaments. Talking about India U-19s, there were a lot of exciting talents who came up and shone at the grand stage of U-19 cricket.
The brightest star of the Indian U-19 campaign was Yashasvi Jaiswal who ended the tournament as the highest run-getter with 400 runs in 6 matches. On the other hand, Rajasthan’s leg-spinner, Ravi Bishnoi finished the tournament as the highest wicket-taker. These two stars may turn up for the Indian senior team soon but one cannot just sit back and relax after doing well at the U-19 level.
The following 3 Indian U-19 stars looked set to make it big in the world of international cricket however, they could convert their U-19 level success into the senior level one. Here’s a look at their journeys.
While playing for India in one U-19 World Cup is a huge achievement, Abhishek Sharma was one of the rare players who played for the nation in two U-19 World Cups. He was a part of the Indian squad that took part in the 2002 U-19 World Cup as well the U-19 World Cup that happened two years later in 2004. Talking about his performances in the U-19 World Cup, Sharma scalped 12 wickets in the 2004 U-19 World Cup while in 2002, he had picked up 14 wickets. He was one of the leading wicket-takers of the tournament yet he could never make his India debut. Sharma could only play in the Ranji Trophy.
Just like Ravi Bishnoi, Amit Bhandari had ended as the nation’s highest wicket-taker of the U-19 World Cup that he took part in. Playing for India in the 1998 U-19 World Cup, Bhandari took 11 wickets at a fantastic bowling average of 15.18. He even made his ODI debut for India in the year 2000 however, a disappointing performance led to his ouster from the team. It seemed like his dream had ended but, Bhandari worked hard at the domestic level and earned his place back in the Indian team. The U-19 star played his second ODI in 2004. He tried his best but once again he failed to impress the selectors meaning that his dream journey to become a grand star of the Indian team ended abruptly.
Playing alongside the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif in the U-19 World Cup for India, it seemed like Manish Sharma would be the next big thing in Indian cricket after the team became champions in the 2000 U-19 World Cup. The left-handed batsman was the highest run-scorer for the Indian team with 257 runs in the tournament. The fans widely expected him to soon join the team of Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. However, he never got a chance to don the Indian jersey. Ultimately, he ended up playing in the controversial Indian Cricket League before getting extinct from the cricketing circles.