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Tracing India's 2008 U-19 winners


Jamie Alter,Cricketnext.com
Mar 02, 2012 at 09:05am IST

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After being finalists in the 2006 Under-19 World Cup, India went all the way in 2008, beating South Africa to take the title in a low-scoring final in Kuala Lumpur. Four years on from that victory, we look a look at where the finalists are today.

Taruwar Kohli

Kohli was one of the heroes in Malaysia, scoring three successive half-centuries to drive India through the initial phase of the World Cup. A No. 3 batsman, he was promoted to open the innings for the first time during the tournament and finished with 218 runs at 43.60, the fifth highest run-scorer.

Tracing India's 2008 U-19 winners

Four years on from India's Under-19 World Cup win in Malaysia, we take a look at where the finalists are today.

Upon returning home, Kohli was purchased by the Rajasthan Royals and made his debut as an opener for the IPL franchise on April 19 against Delhi Daredevils. He made just 7, and was given one more opportunity.

Later that year, Kohli made his first-class debut for his home state of Punjab on November 16 against Saurashtra in Rajkot. Batting at No. 6 behind Punjab veterans such as Ravneet Ricky and Pankaj Dharmani, Kohli scored 79 off 158 balls in the team's only innings during a high-scoring draw. He played just one more match that season, in which he managed one run in two innings. In the 2009-10 Ranji season Kohli was given seven matches, and returned 272 runs at 24.72 with his only significant innings being a maiden first-class century. He did not feature the following season, and in 2011-12 appeared just once for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy, scoring a golden duck and 3 in a draw.

Kohli has failed to cement a place in either format for Punjab. He has played 19 List A matches and 12 Twenty20 matches – the last of which was in October 2011 – with just one half-century.

Shreevats Goswami

Goswami was India's wicketkeeper during the 2008 World Cup, coming off a successful U-19 tour to South Africa where he scored 104 and 97 in the tri-series. Promoted to open the innings in Malaysia, Goswami made 151 runs in five matches, including a crucial 58 in the semi-final against New Zealand.

Goswami quickly earned an IPL contract with Royal Challengers Bangalore, but was given a handful of appearances over two seasons. His IPL debut was a good one; 52 off 42 balls batting at No. 3 but not enough to contribute to a win.

Goswami made his first-class debut for Bengal later that year, as an opener, and made 22 and 0 in a draw against Madhya Pradesh. The 22-year-old has been in and out of Bengal's first-class team playing a total of 12 matches in four seasons with a solitary half-century. Much of this has had to do with the presence of Wriddhiman Saha behind the stumps, but Goswami's ability to score runs has also played a role. He has been more successful in limited-overs cricket, especially in List A where he averages 43.37 from 26 matches with three centuries.

He was last week transferred from Kolkata Knight Riders to Rajasthan Royals.

Tanmay Srivastava

The highest run-scorer in the 2008 World Cup, with 262 runs at 52.40, Srivastava was marked out as one to watch out for. Noted for his ability to change gears comfortably, the tall left-handed opener won an IPL contract with Kings XI Punjab and finished his first Ranji season as Uttar Pradesh's leading run-getter in 2008-09 with 667 at 47.64 as UP were beaten by Mumbai in the final.

While he has been given plenty of opportunities for UP, Srivastava hasn't quite lived up to the promise of 2008. His form over the next three Ranji seasons was up and down - 367 runs in 2009-10, 256 in 2010-11 and 462 in 2011-12 – and overall in 35 first-class matches he has tallied 2546 runs at 35.85, with six centuries. In 30 List A matches, Srivastava averages 45.57 with six centuries.

He signed with Deccan Chargers for the fifth season of the IPL.

Virat Kohli

Undoubtedly the most famous member of the class of 2008. After his success in Malaysia, where he scored 235 runs to finish as the third-highest run-getter, Kohli was picked up by RCB but had a poor first IPL season. Playing in the Emerging Players Tournament in Australia, he scored a century against New Zealand in front of the chief of selectors – who had come to watch just one match – and was drafted into India's ODI team for the tour of Sri Lanka later that year.

During this time Kohli also picked up the tag of being brash and arrogant, which he struggled to cope with. But he stuck at his cricket, worked hard, and with some guidance from India's seniors he made himself hard to ignore. He helped RCB reach the IPL finals in 2009 and 2010 and nearly carried them to the final of the 2011 Champions League Twenty20, but it was an outstanding 2010 for India that made Kohli a star.

He was the year's second highest run scorer after South Africa's Hashim Amla, and his form forced the Indian management to play him in every World Cup match. He marked his tournament debut with a century and finished it with a crucial 35 and the quote of the year, and finished 2011 as the leading ODI run-scorer. Not yet 24, Kohli has nine ODI centuries - his latest was a brilliant effort to help India chase 321 inside 37 overs - and one in Tests, and remains the brightest young Indian player on the scene today. He has even been mentioned as a future India captain, and was on Wednesday named the ODI team's vice-captain.

Saurabh Tiwary

Like his hero MS Dhoni, Tiwary was a long-haired, big-hitting batsman from Jharkhand. He didn't set Malaysia on fire in 2008 – he made 115 runs from six innings – but featured regularly for his state in domestic cricket. His breakthrough season was in the 2009-10 Ranji Trophy, where he scored three centuries and was the Plate Division's third highest run-scorer with 593 runs at 98.83.

Mumbai Indians, who had Tiwary on their roster from IPL 1, banked on his stellar Ranji season and promoted him to No. 3 for the majority of IPL 3. It proved one of their most inspired decisions. Tiwary finished as the Under-23 Success of the Tournament and shot into the limelight. He was rewarded with a place in India's ODI squad for the 2010 Asia Cup. In two ODI innings, Tiwary scored 12 and 37 without being dismissed. He has not been looked at since November 2010, but another strong season could put him back on the selectors' radar considering the need for youngsters to step up.

Manish Pandey

Pandey had an ordinary 2008 World Cup, but made his name in 2009 when he became the first Indian to score a century in the IPL. He hasn't come near to repeating such efforts for RCB since, but is a very talented batsman cut out to play for India.

Drafted into Karnataka's Ranji squad, Pandey finished as the highest run-getter in the 2009-10 season – 822 runs in nine matches at 63.00 – and followed it up as the fifth highest the next year, with 629 runs from eight matches including two centuries. He continued that form into the Duleep Trophy, scoring 329 runs in three innings, including his maiden first-class double-hundred. Pandey made a good start to the 2011-12 season, with 268 runs in three matches, but hernia surgery ruled him out of the rest of the tournament.

He made his return during the Duleep Trophy in February 2012 and struggled in five List A matches with 35 runs in five innings. Nevertheless, Pandey remains a bright prospect and surely one whom the selectors will always keep an eye on.

Ravindra Jadeja

Ten wickets at 13.20 during India's successful World Cup campaign in Malaysia gained him attention, but Jadeja found much more success playing for Saurashtra in the 2008-09 Ranji Trophy. His 739 runs and 42 wickets earned him a call-up for India's ODI series in Sri Lanka in 2009, and Jadeja marked his debut with an unbeaten 60 in a losing chase.

In and out of the ODI team ever since, Jadeja has made a name for himself in Twenty20 cricket. He was a regular member of the IPL-winning Rajasthan Royals in IPL 1, and in the second season he was their highest run-scorer with 295 while conceding runs at less than 6.50 an over. A breach in contract meant Jadeja was ruled out of IPL 3, but he was back a year later playing for Kochi Tuskers Kerala. Following the franchise's ban, Jadeja was purchased for $2 million by Chennai Super Kings in 2012.

His exploits are not restricted to Twenty20 cricket, though. He has an unbeaten double-century and a triple-century in first-class cricket. Jadeja is also an excellent fielder. After Virat Kohli, he remains the batch of 2008's most successful story.

Iqbal Abdulla

Like Jadeja, Abdullah picked up ten wickets with his left-arm spin during the U-19 World Cup. These returns played a decisive role in India's success, and upon return to India the talented spinner was given an extended run for Mumbai. He had already played first-class cricket before the 2008 World Cup, but the confidence from the tournament proved inspirational for Abdulla.

His 32 wickets were pivotal to Mumbai winning the Ranji Trophy in 2009-10, and the following season he returned 22 wickets and 382 runs, which included a maiden first-class century and two fifties.

Having been with Kolkata Knight Rider for the first three seasons of the IPL, he signed a two-year deal in 2011 as an uncapped signing. In IPL 4, Abdullah's 16 wickets from 15 matches at an economy rate of 6.10 helped Kolkata make it to the knock-out phase for the first time. Bowling with the new ball regularly, Abdulla won two Man-of-the-Match awards en route to being named the Under-23 Player of the Tournament.

Abdulla is Mumbai's leading spinner – he recently went past 100 first-class wickets - and has developed into a handy lower-order batsman.

Pradeep Sangwan

Sangwan, a left-arm seamer from Delhi, made it to India's U-19 squad after taking 35 wickets at 19.24 in his first season of Ranji cricket. He was one of the stand-out performers in India's victorious campaign, taking eight wickets from six matches at 20.75. The high point was his 5 for 22 against South Africa during the league phase.

An IPL contract followed with Delhi Daredevils, for whom Sangwan was a consistent performer. He achieved more success as a regular member of Delhi's Ranji team – he has over first-class wickets - but has not made serious discussions about the future of India's pace attack.

Siddharth Kaul

Kaul, a right-arm fast bowler, had marked his first-class debut for Punjab with a five-wicket haul before he travelled to Malaysia. He was India's joint-highest wicket-taker in a successful campaign with ten wickets at 15.40, but featured in just two more first-class matches. Both were in the 2008-09 Ranji season. Kaul has since then played in only List A cricket, managing only eight appearances between 2009 and 2012. His career best remains 6 for 22 against Himachal Pradesh during the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2008-09.

Ajitesh Argal

Argal's right-arm medium pace fetched him eight wickets at 12.75 during the U-19 World Cup where he formed one half of an effective new-ball attack with Sangwan. His outstanding spell of 5-2-7-2 in the final helped India beat South Africa by 12 runs.

Like Kaul, however, Argal failed to find his feet in domestic cricket. Originally from MP, for whom he played U-14 cricket, Argal has played eight first-class matches, three List A and one Twenty20 match. His last domestic appearance a Ranji game against Karnataka – against whom he debuted in 2008 – in October 2011.

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