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Kohli, Williamson give credit to ICC U19 World Cup for shaping their career

Virat Kohli led the team to title win in 2008 ICC U19 World Cup
Virat Kohli led the team to title win in 2008 ICC U19 World Cup

India captain Virat Kohli and New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson stated that success at ICC U19 World Cup played a huge role in shaping their career.

Kohli, Williamson along with Australia's Steven Smith all competed together in the 2008 edition and have gone on to become the contemporary greats along with Joe Root, who featured two years later. In fact, Kohli even led the Indian team to a title win in that year.

Sarfraz Ahmed (Pakistan), Dinesh Chandimal (Sri Lanka), Jason Holder (Windies) and Graeme Cremer (Zimbabwe) are among the others, who have led their U19 teams at the World Cup.

“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 a very importance place in my mind and heart," said Kohli.

"It’s very important to understand and respect the opportunity it provides you and as I said, for me, it holds a very special place in my heart.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Williamson lauded the competitiveness in the competition and believes it helps the younger generation to prepare for the rigours of the senior teams.

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.

“It is always fascinating as well that a number of guys you play against and play with, to see their progress. 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.

“You don’t get many opportunities to play World Cups, obviously at the top level – it is once every four years, if you are fortunate enough to be involved. So the opportunity to play at the age-group level is a very exciting opportunity and one that should be enjoyed.”

U19 World Cup players who went on to lead full-member sides:

Australia – Michael Clarke, Cameron White, George Bailey, Steve Smith, Aaron Finch, David Warner

Bangladesh – Rajin Saleh, Mohammad Ashraful, Mashrafe Mortaza, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal

England – Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain, Alastair Cook, Graeme Swann, Eoin Morgan (played in U19 CWC for Ireland but captained England), Joe Root, Jos Butler, James Taylor

India – Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma

Ireland – William Porterfield, Kevin O’Brien, Andrew White, Gary Wilson.

New Zealand – Lee Germon, Chris Cairns, Brendan McCullum, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, Kyle Mills, Tom Latham

Pakistan – Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, Abdul Razzaq, Salman Butt, Azhar Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed

Sri Lanka – Sanath Jayasuriya, Thilina Kandamby, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Upul Tharanga, Thisara Perea, Lahiru Thirimanne

South Africa – Graeme Smith, Johan Botha, Hashim Amla, Dean Elgar

Windies – Jimmy Adams, Brian Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Chris Gayle, Denesh Ramdin, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Ganga, Ridley Jacobs, Sylvester Joseph, Darren Sammy, Jason Holder, Kieron Pollard, Jason Mohammed, Marlon Samuels

Zimbabwe – Tatenda Taibu, Prosper Utseya, Brendan Taylor, Elton Chigumbura, Hamilton Masakadza, Graeme Cremer

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