Some of the greatest international cricketers today have arrived through some exquisite performances in the U-19 circuit. Among a host of cricketers who represented the nation as part of the junior team, a few get the nod due to their impressive showing. But a handful of them have a unique feature between their U19 career and international career.
Some cricketers have represented their country of origin when playing U-19 cricket but pledged their allegiance to a different nation for international cricket. Such men either make a move to a different region altogether due to lack of opportunities or some personal issues, which are the two most common reasons.
We take a look at five cricketers, who played international and U-19 cricket for different countries:
Imran Tahir is undeniably the best spin-bowler in white-ball cricket to emerge out of South Africa. As a Pakistani-born, he was part of their U-19 team, having also played in the U-19 World Cup 1998. Despite featuring for playing Pakistan A and Pakistan U-19, Tahir couldn’t find a spot in the national team.
Imran Tahir became a resident of South Africa in 2005 and made his debut for the Proteas in 2011. The leg-spinner has an impressive limited-overs record, having taken 173 wickets in 107 ODIs and 63 scalps in 35 T20Is. After the 2019 World Cup, the 41-year old retired from ODIs; however, declared his intention to keep playing the shortest format.
Colin de Grandhomme
A powerful batting all-rounder and equally effective with the ball, Colin de Grandhomme has established himself as a regular fixture across formats for New Zealand. Born in Harare, De Grandhomme featured in the 2004 U-19 World Cup for Zimbabwe. In search of better opportunities, he relocated to New Zealand.
Colin de Grandhomme chance to represent the BlackCaps arrived in 2012 in a T20 international against his native Zimbabwe. Fast forward to the present; the 33-year old has played 24 Tests, 42 ODIs, and 36 T20Is for the Kiwis. He can turn any game on its head through his all-round abilities. De Grandhomme was part of the New Zealand team that reached the final of the 2019 World Cup.
Grant Elliot will forever remain in the memories for smashing a six that ushered New Zealand to their first final of the World Cup. The 2015 World Cup was the first competition in which the BlackCaps made it to the final where they lost to Australia. But the shot off Dale Steyn over long-on to seal their spot in the tournament decider is forever etched into the minds of the fans.
Born in Johannesburg, Elliot played in the 1998 U-19 World Cup for South Africa and scored 130 runs in six games at 32.50. In 2001, he migrated to Wellington and debuted for New Zealand in 2008. In 2016, Grant Elliot announced his retirement from internationals cricket, having featured in five Tests, 83 ODIs, and 17 T20Is.
Tim Murtagh is one of the prominent Irish cricketers, having made his debut for Ireland in June 2012. Murtagh as part of England’s U-19 World Cup squad in 2000, picked up nine wickets in five games at 17.22. The nine wickets came at an economy rate of 3.92.
The 2008 county season transpired with the London-born taking 104 wickets across formats for Middlesex. Despite that, the English selectors ignored him. The 2011 county domestic season saw Murtagh taking 80 wickets at an average of 20.11. The selectors again overlooked him. In 2012, the right-arm bowler saw an opportunity to move to Ireland as his grandparents belonged there.
The 38-year old has managed to feature in 58 ODIs, 3 Tests, and 14 T20Is for Ireland. He famously took five wickets at Lord’s against England last year in the only Test played between them. In November 2019, Murtagh announced his retirement from Ireland duty; however, he continues to play for Middlesex.
Craig Kieswetter’s career arrived at an abrupt end in 2015 after a delivery from David Willey breached his grill and struck the batsmen on the face. It broke Kieswetter’s nose, damaging his eye socket, and finally forcing him to retire when he still had the chance to make a comeback.
The keeper-batsman was part of the South African outfit in the 2006 U-19 World Cup squad, having taken birth in Johannesburg. It was before Kieswetter migrated to England similar to many of his predecessors. He made his debut for England in February 2010. The right-handed batsman’s most significant contribution to the English team was his crucial role to catapulting them to their first ICC trophy in 2010.
The 2010 World T20 in the West Indies saw the 32-year old crunch 222 runs, including a knock of 63 in the final against Australia. In the subsequent years, he remained in and out of the team with his last of 46 ODIs coming in January 2013. He played his final of 25 T20Is in 2012 against New Zealand.