The fourth edition of the Under-19 World Cup was held in Bangladesh in 2004, and I had the good fortune of being deputed by my newspaper to report on it. I say that I was fortunate, because not all Indian newspapers take the Under-19 World Cup seriously – there is excitement if India do well, of course, but that's about it. It was one of my more memorable cricket ‘tours', not least because of my family's roots in Bangladesh, and the many friends we still have there.
In the three editions prior to that one – the inaugural one was in 1988, but the second and third ones followed only in 1998 and 2000 – players of the calibre of Brian Lara, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Sanath Jayasuriya, Chris Gayle, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh had made headlines, which suggested that the top performers in 2004 would also go on to great things. However, that wasn't quite the case with the class of 2004, though in Alastair Cook, Eoin Morgan (he represented Ireland), Angelo Mathews, Suresh Raina and Brendan Taylor, we had five future international captains in action.
Pakistan won the tournament. Only six of that team – Khalid Latif, Mansoor Amjad, Fawad Alam, Zulqarnain Haider, Wahab Riaz and Riaz Afridi – went on to represent their country at the senior level. The star of the tournament, though his team finished third overall after losing to Pakistan in the semifinal, was Shikhar Dhawan. He hit 505 runs, including three centuries.