India skipper Virat Kohli believes the 2008 U-19 World Cup victory was the most crucial phase of his development as a cricketer.
In 2008, Kohli steered a side featuring Ravindra Jadeja and Manish Pandey to victory in Malaysia, leading by example and making a superb hundred in the group stage against the West Indies.
“I have always maintained that it was probably the most crucial phase of my development as a cricketer because that was probably the second time that the World Cup started being aired on TV. Many people score runs and do well but when you watch someone play, you know there’s something different,” Kohli said.
“I am grateful that the tournament was aired on TV because everyone watched us play, we were picked into the IPL and people started thinking that these guys could do something in future. I think it was a great stepping stone and winning that tournament was a boost for us. I think when you have the chance to show what you can do in front of the world, it really provides you with a rare opportunity,” he added.
The 13th edition of the tournament, starting Friday in South Africa will see history being made as Nigeria and Japan make their World Cup debuts.
Talented young guns in blue like Yashasvi Jaiswal, Atharva Ankolekar, Priyam Garg, Ravi Bishnoi and Dhruv Jurel will be gunning to defend their title in South Africa.
Defending champions India, who have been clubbed alongside New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Japan in Group A, will open their tournament campaign against Sri Lanka at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on January 19. On January 21 and 24, India will play their remaining two group games against Japan and New Zealand.
India are the most successful team having won four titles till date, including in 2018, when they beat Australia by eight wickets in the final and remained unbeaten in the tournament.
The matches will be broadcast live exclusively on Star Sports 3.