Dubai, Jan 1 (IANS) India skipper Virat Kohli believes the Under 19 World Cup was an important milestone in his career as it provided him with the opportunity to showcase his talent and gave him a good platform to build on and make his career.
In 2008, Kohli steered a side featuring Ravindra Jadeja and Manish Pandey to overall victory in Malaysia, leading by example and making a superb hundred in the group stage against the West Indies.
Less predictably, then-19-year-old Kohli gave his medium pace a successful airing, snaffling a vital two for 27 including the wicket of captain Kane Williamson in the semi-final win over New Zealand.
"The ICC U19 World Cup was a very important milestone in my career," Kohli -- who made 235 runs at an average of 47 in 2008 -- was quoted as saying in an ICC media release.
"It helped us get a good platform to build on and make our careers from thereon, so it holds a very important place in my mind and heart. It is very important to understand and respect the opportunity it provides to you.
"I remember playing against Kane (Williamson). He was someone who always stood out in the team; his batting ability was very different from the other players who were around.
"It is good to know that so many people from that batch, like Kane and Steve Smith, have played for their respective countries."
Nearly 12 years on from captaining India to victory at the U19 World Cup, Kohli is the top-ranked ODI batsman in the world with 43 centuries to his name in the format.
Priyam Garg-led Team India would be looking to defend the title at the upcoming U19 World Cup scheduled to be played in South Africa from January 17 to February 9.
Ahead of their departure, Garg had stated that there''s no pressure on him and all that he is thinking is to take the team forward and how to navigate it out of difficult situations if the need arises.
India, which is the most successful team in the tournament''s history, have won the coveted trophy under Mohammad Kaif in 2000, Kohli in 2008, Unmukt Chand in 2012 and Prithvi Shaw in 2018.
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 U19 WC squad: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Divyaansh Saxena, Priyam Garg (c), Dhruv Chand Jurel (vc & wk), Shashwat Rawat, Divyansh Joshi, Shubhang Hegde, Ravi Bishnoi, Akash Singh, Kartik Tyagi, Atharva Ankolekar, Kumar Kushagra (wk), Sushant Mishra, Vidyadhar Patil.