On Saturday 5th Feb India meet England in the final of the ICC U19 World Cup Final at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium Antigua.
It will be the first time England have reached the final since 1998 when a team containing the likes of Graeme Swann and Rob Key skippered by Owais Shah chased down 241 fairly comfortably to lift the trophy against New Zealand with four overs and seven wickets to spare.
Stephen Peters scored a century in a man of the match performance that day against a young Black Caps side which heralded Lou Vincent, the Marshall twins James and Hamish as well as seamers James Franklin and Kyle Mills all of which would go on to make full Test & ODI appearances for the Kiwis in their careers .
Peters himself after bursting on the scene at Essex CCC in 1996 when many were tipping him for England honors took a time to establish his consistency as a top county run scorer. Peters left Essex in 2002 via Worcester CCC to later become Northants CCC captain where he probably had his best years of his career but by then England had the likes of Strauss Trescothick and Vaughan firmly ensconced in the international set up and full international honors past him by.
Graeme Swann also took the scenic route to Test match prominence in fact it was ten years after the u19 world cup final that he made his test match debut for England in Chennai . From then he had an amazing successful five years where he took 255 test wickets at 30 a piece in an England team that established itself as the best in the world in 2012
Recently the conversion from u19 world cup success to full international recognition has been swifter especially for India .
In the 2020 u19 world cup India were defeated by Bangladesh in the final in South African although Yashasvi Jaiswal opening batsman for Rajasthan Royals in IPL was the top scorer in the tournament with recently chosen for ODI & T20 international honors Ravi Bishnoi being top wicket taker in the event that year.
When India last won the tournament in 2018 under current national coach Rahul Dravid the side that beat Australia in the final contained both Shubman Gil and was skippered by Prithvi Shaw who both have already played full international cricket and have been hugely successful in IPL for the KKR and Delhi Capital franchises respectfully
|2002||Australia||South Africa||New Zealand|
|2000||India||Sri Lanka||Sri Lanka|
|1998||England||New Zealand||South Africa|
As for this current tournament we have seen some great matches and both superb team and individual performances.
With the recent role models of Rashid Khan , Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammed Nabi it was no surprise to see the next crop of Afghanistan players perform well again reaching the semi final and at one point looking like they could have beaten England in a tightly contested semi final.
Left arm spinner Noor Ahmad and left hand bat Suliman Safi Khan are definitely two Afghanistan cricketers to follow
Both the finalists have some superb players with huge potential . India have captain Yash Dhull who is talked up as being the next Virat Kohli .His brilliant 110 in the semi final against Australia was key in a 204 run third wicket partnership with Rasheed 94 in a score of 290 this allowed the Indian spinners to secure victory. Vicky Ostwal has taken twelve wickets in the tournament at ten a piece with an economy rate of 3.39.
England have had some star performers in Jacob Bethell from Warwickshire originally Barbados who has contributed with both bat and ball but highlighted with his blistering 88 for 42 balls set up England s winning chase in the quarter final against South Africa. Skipper Tom Prest has scored close to 300 runs in the event mainly due to his unbeaten 154 against UAE .
The bowling highlights so far have come from left arm Lancastrian seamer Josh Boyden who has taken 13 wickets in the tournament up on now and whisper to quietly England might have the next Dilly Rashid in leg spinner Rehan Ahmed who has taken 12 wickets including three in the dramatic ending to the victorious semi final against Afghanistan
Another player to come out of this tournament is Dewald Brevis from South Africa dubbed Baby AB this right hand bat and leg break bowler scored 506 runs at a strike rate of over 90 with also 7 wickets from his 35 overs in the tournament . It is on surprise he is one of 33 SA players in the IPL Auction even at the tender age of 18.
India will be short priced favorites to win the final and are likely to win the trophy for a record improving fifth time.