U19 World Cup: India have played 5 finals; won 3 titles

The Indian team led by Prithvi Shaw will begin their journey against Australia in the U19 World Cup 2018.

India U19 team
India U19 team. (Photo Source: Twitter)

India is one of the most successful sides in the U19 World Cup, winning the title thrice (along with Australia) and playing the final five times (same like Pakistan). They have also seen the emergence of a number of star players through this tournament in the past. Will the 2018 edition starting tomorrow be at par with history?

Three-time champions India will be kicking off their campaign in the 12th edition of the Under-19 World Cup on Saturday, January 13, when they take on Australia, also three-time champions, at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand. The team led by Prithvi Shaw and coached by former Test captain Rahul Dravid is hopeful of bettering the performance in the last edition in which India lost to the West Indies in the final, thanks to an ordinary batting display.


Historically, India have done well in the U19 World Cup, lifting the trophy the most number of times along with the Aussies. They have, however, reached the finals five times, which is again a joint highest with Pakistan, making them one of the most successful teams in the competition.

Here is a look at India’s performances at the U19 World Cup:

1988 edition (lost in round robin stage):

The inaugural edition (Youth World Cup then) was played in Australia in 1988 but India, which had a number of future Test players in their ranks like Pravin Amre, Nayan Mongia, Venkatapathy Raju and others, had a disastrous outing. They started well by defeating England by 2 wickets but lost to Australia, Pakistan, the West Indies and even Sri Lanka to finish a poor sixth out of eight sides. The side was led by Mulyahanan Senthilnathan, who was the highest run-getter for India in that tournament but never got to represent India internationally. Australia were the eventual winners in that edition beating Pakistan by 5 wickets in the finals.

1998 (lost in super league):

The second edition of the U19 World Cup happened in South Africa after a decade since the first and the number of participating teams went up to 16. India, led by left-handed Amit Pagnis, did better than the previous outing as they qualified for the super league but could not advance to the final because of an inferior run rate. I

ndia beat Scotland and Kenya in the group stages and eventual winners England and arch-rivals Pakistan in the tournament while losing to hosts South Africa and reigning champions Australia. The Indian team of that edition featured future stars like Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh although skipper Pagnis never played international games for India.

2000 (first title):

Just like in the seniors’ World Cup, India went on to lift their first title in the third edition in the U19 World Cup as well. In this edition which was played in Sri Lanka, Mohammed Kaif was India’s captain and though his team did well, he himself did not have a great tournament like that in 1998 and finished with just 170 runs in 8 games.

India thrashed Bangladesh and beat New Zealand to advance to the super league and there they beat Nepal, England and Sri Lanka. In the semifinal, India hammered Australia by 170 runs and then grabbed the trophy after defeating hosts Lanka by 6 wickets. India’s Ravneet Ricky finished second-highest scorer in the tournament with 340 runs while Shalabh Srivastava finished with 14 wickets to become the joint second highest wicket-taker with Bangladesh’s Ranjan Das.

Ace Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh, who made a dashing debut in international cricket later in 2000, was also a part of the U19 World Cup-winning team.

2002 (lost in the semis):

The fourth edition of the U19 World Cup was yet another disappointment for India as they, led by Parthiv Patel, were knocked out by South Africa in the semi-finals. India had started well in the tournament played in New Zealand, topping their group which also featured the Proteas, but eventually missed the final which was won by Australia by 7 wickets.

Patel, however, did better than his predecessors in the junior World Cup and is currently serving as a member of the team touring South Africa. India beat Canada and South Africa in the group stage but lost to Bangladesh and in the super league games, they defeated the West Indies and Sri Lanka but lost to Pakistan. The Proteas defeated India by 112 runs in the semifinal to dash their dream of a second title.

2004 (lost in the semis):

India was led by Ambati Rayadu in this edition and yet after finishing as toppers in the group and super league stages, India failed to clear the semifinal where they lost to arch-rivals and eventual champions Pakistan by 5 wickets. Shikhar Dhawan, who is representing India in South Africa at the moment, finished as the highest scorer in this tournament and was picked as the man of the series.

In the tournament played in Bangladesh, India defeated Scotland, New Zealand and Bangladesh by big margins and the West Indies and Sri Lanka in the super league stage. The only other game apart from the semi-final that India lost in this edition was against South Africa by just three runs. Pakistan lifted the trophy by beating the West Indies by 25 runs in the final.

2006 (lost in the final):

India, led by Ravikant Shukla, had a golden opportunity to win their second title in the sixth edition which was played in Sri Lanka. Indians won all their games (against Nambia, Scotland, Sri Lanka, West Indies and England) till the final in which they lost to Pakistan by 38 runs despite restricting the arch-rivals for just 109 runs, giving the latter their second consecutive trophy. Four future Indian players in Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara and Piyush Chawla played in this edition. Skipper Shukla himself failed in the tournament and never saw his cricketing career flourishing.

2008 (second title):

Virat Kohli U19 World Cup
Virat Kohli of India U19 plays a shot. (Photo by Stanley Chou/Getty Images)

India made up for the lost cause in the next edition which was played in Malaysia by lifting their second world cup, equalling Australia and Pakistan. The boys in blue were led in this edition by none other than Virat Kohli, the current national team captain and the most sensational cricketer since the exit of Sachin Tendulkar.

India topped their group, winning against Papua New Guinea, South Africa and the West Indies (against whom Virat Kohli hit a hundred), beat England in the quarter-final, New Zealand in the semifinal and South Africa in the final. Kohli’s team was a tad lucky as they defeated the Proteas by the Duckworth-Lewis method despite getting bowled out for a mere 159. India’s Tanmay Srivastava scored the most runs (262) in the tournament and Kohli went on to make his international ton later the same year.

2010 (finished 6th):

This U19 World Cup played in New Zealand was yet another debacle for India led by Ashok Menaria. They could only beat two lowly teams of Afghanistan and Hong Kong in this tournament. Menaria’s boys lost to England in the group stage and were knocked out by Pakistan in the quarterfinal.

It was the fourth loss that India suffered against Pakistan in the U19 World Cup within a period of eight years. India won and lost a couple of place-decider games against England and South Africa to eventually finish sixth in the competition. Australia won this edition defeating Pakistan by 25 runs in the final and took their tally of U19 World Cup victories to three.

2012 (third title):

Unmukt Chand India A
Unmukt Chand. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

This is perhaps the sweetest of all World Cup wins by the India colts as they beat Australia at their home to grab the trophy. Led by Delhi lad Unmukt Chand who himself had a great batting form in the tournament, India had an ordinary start in the tournament as they lost their opening game against the West Indies but went on to beat Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan (quarters), New Zealand (semis) and Australia in the final.

Chand himself hit an unbeaten 111 to successfully chase down Australia’s 225 after India were reduced to 97 for 4 at one stage. Chand showed a lot of promise thereafter but is yet to shine consistently like some of his predecessors. This win gave India their third world title and they equalled Australia’s feat.

2014 (finished 5th):

Vijay Zol’s India made a great start in the 10th edition of the U19 World Cup played in Dubai by defeating Pakistan and subsequently all matches of the group but could not maintain the momentum and were knocked out by former champions England in the quarter-final. They later beat Sri Lanka in the fifth-place play-off semifinals and the West Indies in the fifth place play-off.

Deepak Hooda, Sarfaraz Khan, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer and Kuldeep Yadav were the prominent names that emerged in this World Cup. Yadav finished with 14 wickets to finish joint second with South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada (who is currently one of the leading fast bowlers of the Proteas) and Namibia’s Bredell Wessells. Zol himself hasn’t seen much success yet. South Africa won their first title this year defeating Pakistan in the final. It was Pakistan’s third loss in the final of the U19 World Cup.

2016 (lost in the final):

Exactly 10 years after their first finalist rank, India met the same fate as Ishan Kishan’s boys were humbled by a dominant West Indies in the final of the last tournament which was played in Bangladesh. India started their campaign with flying colours – beating Ireland, New Zealand and Nepal in the group stage – and Namibia and Sri Lanka in the quarter and semifinals, respectively.

But a batting collapse in the final saw India betting bowled out for just 145 and it was never enough to stop the West Indies from picking their maiden world title in Colts’ cricket. It was also a sweet revenge for the Caribbeans as they had lost to the same side in the final of the 1983 World Cup and failed to complete a hat-trick of world titles.

India will be keen to lift their fourth title this time around and given their itinerary (India are clubbed with Australia, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe in Group B and as said earlier, they will open their campaign against the Aussies who are also looking for the fourth championship), there is no doubt that the boys in blue will be on their toes from ball one. We wish them all the best.

India in U19 World Cup since 1988:

  • Champions in 2000, 2008 and 2012
  • India champions under captaincy of Mohammad Kaif (2000), Virat Kohli (2008) and Unmukt Chand (2012)
  • Runners-up in 2006 (lost to Pakistan) and 2016 (lost to West Indies)
  • India is the only team to win the U19 title Down Under
  • India have played the most number of finals (5) along with Pakistan while they have won the trophy most number of times (3) along with Australia