The 2020 edition of the U-19 World Cup begins on Friday. Team India are the defending champions in the tournament, after having registered a remarkable eight-wicket win in the final of the previous edition against Australia. Prithvi Shaw led the side coached by legendary former Indian batsman Rahul Dravid, as India secured a record fourth U-19 World Cup title.
Throughout its history, the U-19 World Cup saw the emergence of a plethora of talented cricketers - many of which made their name in senior cricket. International cricket captains like Brian Lara, Sanath Jayasuriya and Inzamam-ul-Haq are just a handful of names who made their name in the tournament.
Among Indian cricketers, Virat Kohli is perhaps the first name which comes to mind when one talks about the players who rose from the U-19 World Cup. Virat led the Indian team to the title in 2008 and soon entered the senior setup, emerging as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of the game.
However, there is one thing even the current Indian captain didn't achieve. Only four Indians - legendary former Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, opener Shikhar Dhawan, Test regular Cheteshwar Pujara and shining youngster Shubman Gill have achieved the honour so far. What binds the four together?
Yes, the Man of the Tournament award at the U-19 World Cup. Yuvraj was the first Indian to win the award in the 2000 edition of the tournament, while another left-hander, Shikhar Dhawan received the award in 2004. In the next edition, Cheteshwar Pujara won the Man of the Tournament title, while Shubman Gill received the honour in the previous edition of the tournament.
Where are the four now? Let's take a look:
The legendary Indian southpaw went on to become one of the side's greatest all-rounders. Yuvraj, who won the award in 2000, made his way into the senior team in the same year. He played a crucial role in India's victories in the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 fifty-over World Cup.
Yuvraj was not only among the frontrunners in India's successful World Cup campaigns, but remained a mainstay in the side for many years. His comeback in the team after defeating a life-threatening disease like cancer remains a part of his legacy as much as his batting prowess and the ability to turn the games around on his own.
Another left-handed batsman, Shikhar Dhawan had to wait for his first break in the senior team. He made his international debut in 2010, and became the fastest to score a century on Test debut in 2013 against Australia. His performances in 2013 Champions Trophy established him as a first-choice opener in the Indian team.
Dhawan, along with his opening partner Rohit Sharma, continues to remain a key member of the side, even if his performances have dipped considerably of late. With growing competition for the opening spot and emergence of talented youngsters on the Indian bench, Dhawan faces a stiff competition to keep his place in the side.
Pujara took the coveted number three spot from Rahul Dravid in 2012, and established himself as a highly reliable Test batsman. He famously orchestrated India's first series win in Australia last year, scoring 521 runs in four Tests.
Pujara has predominantly been a Test player for the side. He was selected in ODIs in 2013, but failed to make a mark. With time, he made peace with his career trajectory and now focuses largely on the longest format of the game. While his teammates play in the Indian Premier League in the months of April and May, Pujara spends this time in England playing in the County season.
The most consistent batsman in the 2018 U-19 World Cup, Gill is touted to do big things in senior cricket. He made his senior debut a year later during the ODI series against New Zealand, but is yet to cement a spot in the limited-overs squad.
However, he has continued on his exploits in the domestic cricket. With averages of 63.33 and 46.37 in first-class and List A cricket respectively, he is heavily knocking the door for a comeback in the side. He is also a part of the Indian Test squad, but is yet to make his debut.