Not many can forget Siddarth Kaul’s final over in the U19 World Cup back in 2008. It was a rain-marred game against South Africa and although the Indians didn’t have a lot to defend, they bowled with a big heart and ended up scripting a fairytale triumph in Malaysia.
The Indian skipper of that triumph, Virat Kohli, made his debut the senior team soon after and also became the Indian captain across all formats on his way to earning a legendary status. Some other prolific names from that edition include Manish Pandey, Ravindra Jadeja, Saurabh Tiwary and Siddarth Kaul, who have been in limelight for a long time.
But let’s take a look at five names, which we either didn’t know were a part of this U19 side or they just vanished out of the scenario due to inconsistency.
Here are five such players who played with Virat Kohli but couldn’t make it big:
1. Taruwar Kohli
Taruwar Kohli was off to a flying start in the U19 World Cup back then, scoring three half-centuries in a row when he was asked to open the innings, which was out of his comfort zone. But he took that bullet for the side and ended up being one of the most important members of that side.
Taruwar then was an integral part of the Kings XI Punjab side for a long time, but inconsistency hampered his growth and he never became the cricketer which the other Kohli in the team had become. He was representing Punjab in the domestic circuit for a long time and then shifted to Mizoram when the domestic circuit was expanded.
He also played briefly for the Rajasthan Royals in the first edition of the IPL, winning the trophy alongside his other U19 Indian teammate Ravindra Jadeja. He performed well for a couple of years in other local tournaments but was never good enough to win a national call-up.
2. Napoleon Einstein
Napoleon Einstein had a very interesting story behind his name. His grandfather, who was a scientist, had actually written a lot of letters to the great Albert Einstein and even got replies from him. Admiration for him earned him that name and despite hailing from a family full of scholars, Napoleon Einstein ended up playing cricket for India U19.
Einstein played just one match in that World Cup and later on, his cricketing career didn’t progress very well. He made no appearances in First-class cricket and played just 2 List A games, 1 T20. He was a part of the Chennai Super Kings as well in the first season.
But after some time, Einstein stopped playing cricket and the 30-year-old’s whereabouts are surprisingly unknown. He was often known to have maintained a low profile and despite some great research from some media individuals, they couldn’t find out what he is doing right now.
3. Abhinav Mukund
This could surprise some of the fans but Abhinav Mukund was a part of the U19 Indian side in 2008. A prolific run-scorer in the Indian domestic circuit, Mukund did represent the national side on a few occasions, but either due to stiff competition, inconsistency or sometimes both reasons, he never made it big at the international level.
He also played for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL and opened for them for a few seasons. He continues to be a powerhouse in the Tamil Nadu domestic side, no matter which format they play. The limited-overs formats are not precisely his forte, but he did a good job in the recently concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy, scoring 600 runs at an average of 50.
He is also closing in on becoming one of the few Indian cricketers with more than 10,000 FC runs and is currently 306 runs short of it. He will perhaps get there in the upcoming Ranji season. He has played a lot of cricket in these 11 years but not at the level he wanted.
4. Tanmay Srivastava
India’s highest run-scorer in U19 World Cup 2008, Tanmay Srivastava’s career too didn’t progress the way many experts had predicted. He was easily the best batsman that tournament, even ahead of the young talents like Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Rilee Rossouw.
Born in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, Srivastava’s career didn’t take off like that of his captain. He represented three IPL franchises in Kings XI Punjab, Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Deccan Chargers, but didn’t find a lot of success. A few years after his final appearance in the IPL in 2012, he started scoring a lot of runs in the domestic circuit for Uttar Pradesh.
He has played 81 FC games, 44 List A games and 28 T20s for different teams, but could never achieve the real dream. Life had some very harsh chapters in store for him, but he kept ticking in and is continuing to represent Uttar Pradesh.
5. Ajitesh Argal
Ajitesh Argal was named Man of the Match in the 2008 U19 World Cup final, for his outstanding spell where he picked up two very important wickets of the Proteas batting line-up. The Baroda cricketer could not capitalize on the opening he received, eventually was coming in and going out irregularly from the Ranji side.
For some reason, his career just never took off and the only proper cricketing memories for him were from this World Cup. He played just 19 professional matches in the next 9 years, with his last appearance coming in 2013. It has been a while since he represented a professional side.
Argal was also a part of the Kings XI Punjab unit for the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League, but he couldn’t make his mark in the tournament. Argal was roped into the Income Tax department as an inspector through Sports quota in Vadodara.
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