The ICC Under 19 World Cup will start in New Zealand on Saturday and it couldn’t have been scheduled at a better time. With just two weeks left for the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction 2018, the franchises will be watching the proceedings closely, hoping to catch a big fish or two. In the last edition of the tournament, Rishabh Pant hit the jackpot. In his last U19 World Cup match before the IPL auction 2016, Pant smashed 78 runs from just 24 balls, with the help of nine fours and five humongous hits over the rope, eventually ending up with big bucks. There have been many other stars over the years who have used the junior stage to impress the scouts. Here is a look at the former Under 19 World Cup stars who became million dollar babies in IPL:
1. Suresh Raina
The Uttar Pradesh batsman represented India in the 2004 ICC Under 19 World Cup. He scored three half-centuries in that tournament including a 90 off just 38 balls. These performances were enough to get the attention of the then team India coach Greg Chappel. Raina made his international debut in 2005 against Sri Lanka and later was bought by the Chennai Super Kings. This year CSK retained Raina for a whopping amount of Rs 11 crore.
2. Rohit Sharma
Even before Rohit Sharma had made his international debut, he was a popular name in India’s domestic circuit, thanks to his exploits at the junior level. He played in 2006 Under 19 World Cup alongside Ravindra Jadeja and Cheteshwar Pujara. Rohit scored 205 runs at an average of 41, including three fifties in that tournament and was picked for the Indian side, the very next year. He was retained by the Mumbai Indians for Rs 15 crore this year.
3. David Warner
In a country where batsmen are made to wait till their mid-30s to make their international debuts, David Warner represented Australia even before playing a single first-class game. He played for Australia in the 2006 U19 World Cup, a tournament that also featured names like Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Martin Guptill, Tim Southee and Angelo Mathews. Warner led Sunrisers Hyderabad to their maiden IPL title a couple of seasons back and was retained by the side for Rs 12 crore.
4. Yuvraj Singh
One of the very stars to have come out of the Under 19 World Cup, Yuvraj Singh was the Man of the Tournament in 2000 edition, helping India lift the title for the very first time. He hit two 50s in the tournament and took 11 wickets to help young Indian team capture the title. He became the million dollar baby twice: In 2014, when RCB spent Rs 14 crore and in 2015 when Delhi Daredevils bought him for Rs 16 crore.
5. Chris Gayle
The Universe boss Chris Gayle played the Under 19 World Cup in 1998 alongside Graeme Swann, Harbhajan Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Virender Sehwag, Kyle Mills, Lou Vincent and Shoaib Malik. As surprising as it may sound, Gayle went unsold in the IPL auction 2011, before RCB signed him to replace an injured Dirk Nannes. Three years later, he was retained by the same side for a whopping amount.