Virat Kohli and 21 others

Broken dreams far outnumber those that make it to reality when it comes to transitioning from Under-19 to international cricket, says Dileep Premachandran.

updated: August 10, 2012 11:52 IST
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The Manchester Evening News called Colin Shindler's George Best and 21 Others 'Warm, witty and sometimes unbearably sad'. The narrative is based on an FA Youth Cup semifinal that more than 50,000 people watched in the spring of 1964, and what transpired afterwards. As the back cover says: "It was a time of great hope and excitement: a new era was to be ushered in, with the virtues of youth personified in the Beatles and Harold Wilson – and in the teams that played. But what happened next? For some, like George Best, it was the start of a golden era of success; but for others it was the highlight of a career that never happened."

We'll catch plenty of glimpses of cricket's future over the next three weeks, as Townsville hosts the Under-19 World Cup. Alongside the future stars, however, will be those for whom the tournament serves as a last hurrah. Most of the boys that take part will never make the big leagues. For every Chris Gayle or Virat Kohli, there'll be 10 others that spend the rest of their lives telling people how they once rubbed shoulders with the game's elite.

So many barriers separate Under-19 cricket from the big stage. In some cases, players lack the nous or the skill to make the transition. The flaws that can be papered over in age-group cricket become yawning chasms that can't be bridged.

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