Let’s start with congratulations to team Bangladesh and commiserations to team India.
If you are a cricket follower, U19 cricket has taken your fancy. Been there for a while, the excitement is addictive like the young players on field. First contested in 1988, it has seen 13 editions. Over 30 years since inception the format has gained immense popularity among cricket lovers. Better media coverage ensures the ball keeps rolling but the sheer star power which goes on to claim international glory, thin line which can create a legend and the aspiration value provides the format all glitz which it gets. As U19 cricketer your performances are the key factors to break into the senior side and yet the performances alone can’t guarantee and cement your stature as international cricketer. Leap from U19 to international format is a huge one. While we have notable players who graduated from U19 to senior level with yet many who showed promise failed in delivering on expectations. Young player at that reckless age anything is possible. Talent alone is no parameter for breaking into senior team. From a nobody playing in streets, small grounds with no crowds sudden media frenzy, TV coverage and interviews where you know the entire world watches is overwhelming. Tough job managing hype at a young age. At 16 or 17 when most of the kids are busy in their own world you are someone where the world stops and takes notice. Imagine being at that age and facing all the attention. Feels good right, but it takes heavy toll. Something you don’t have but desire feels fancy and it comes with a price. We have seen people crumbling under pressure and breaking down. Few achieve greatness while many go down.
Wayne Holdsworth,Mluleki Nkala, Zahid Saeed, Anwar Ali, Unmukt Chand and Brett Williams are few which promised at this level,eventually fizzled. Were they good players? They were and yet they didn’t make it big to the highest level. Brian Lara, Inzamam Ul Haq, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and Chris Gayle are the others who graduated through this format and etched their names in the fraternity. Yes the talent speaks but your ability to withstand pressure, absorb hype and staying calm among the mayhem surrounding the new phase decides the smoothness and perfection of leap towards next level.
U19 euphoria is here to stay for we all believe in the young generation and none better a sight than to watch these young lads achieving greatness amidst the constant scrutiny and pressure to deliver. Let’s huddle up and watch the spectacle called U19 cricket and see young ones who grow and mature to fill places vacated by current lot of players and gun for glory.
A quote from Dorothy Height sums this beautifully- Greatness is not measured by what a man or woman accomplishes, but by the opposition he or she has overcome to reach his goals.
Few facts to keep you interested:
First edition(1988) winners: Australia
2020 winners: Bangladesh
Most successful team: India(4 titles)
Most wins: India