Recalling his triumph in the 2008 U-19 World Cup, Virat Kohli has stated that the tournament still holds an important place in his heart. Kiwi’s skipper Kane Williamson, who faced Kohli that year, believes that the youngsters get the vital exposure to higher standards through this tournament.
Since its first edition 19-year-back in 1998 that gave international cricket captains like Brian Lara, Inzamam-ul-Haq, and Sanath Jayasuriya, the developmental tournament has been a springboard for numerous youngsters to emerge who later made a huge mark in their career. Since then, the U19 CWC system has produced names like Michael Clarke, Virender Sehwag, Brendan McCullum, Graeme Smith and Chris Gayle over the years.
The biennial event is scheduled to take place in New Zealand next year and captain Kohli has walked down the memory lane to recall the 2007/08 edition held in Malaysia, which also saw Kane Williamson participating.
“I remember playing against Kane. He was someone who always stood out in the team, his batting ability was very different from the other players who were around. Steve (Smith) I did not quite play against at the U19 level, so I didn’t watch him bat, but he has come a long way in his career as well. It is good to know that so many people from that batch, not just three of us captaining our countries, but apart from that a lot of players have played for their respective countries," Kohli said, reported
“The ICC U19 World Cup was a very important milestone in my career. It helped us get a good platform to build on and make our careers from thereon, so it holds an important place in my mind and heart. It’s very important to understand and respect the opportunity it provides you.”
The New Zealand captain called it a stepping stone for youngsters onto the higher level and to get acquainted with the skill set and progress of opponents.
“It is a great stepping stone. Playing international cricket within your age group allows players to see slightly higher standards, the best of the best from the under-19 perspective, so (it is) a great tournament to be involved in. Often, when you meet players, you talk about the Under-19 World Cup. Each team had a few guys who are playing international cricket, which is good,” said Williamson.