India has always relied on its talents from the Under-19 team to take the sport forward in the future. Cricketing legends such as Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli are some of the most prominent names that are listed as under-19 finds.
In the ongoing U-19 World Cup, India has already reached the final and is poised to play the winner of the New Zealand vs Bangladesh match on Sunday. India has already won the Cup four times and is prepared to win it for the fifth time on Sunday.
Despite India being quite prolific at Under-19 cricket, the country has never hosted the World Cup tournament. The ICC began this tournament in 1998 and has organized it 13 times. New Zealand has hosted the competition thrice. Australia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and South Africa have hosted it twice. The tournament has also traveled to off-beat countries such as Malaysia and UAE, who have hosted it once. Surprisingly, it has never been hosted by India, Pakistan, and England, the countries known for cricket.
The men’s 50-over World Cup will be held in India for the fourth time in 2023, and the T20I World Cup will be held for the second time in 2021. The women’s World Cup has been held thrice in the country. It is odd that the Under-19 World Cup has not been hosted in India, especially since the BCCI is known for encouraging sports at the junior levels.
Some critics have said that the BCCI does not want to host the game because of profitability issues. Former BCCI treasurer put forth the question of hosting the Under-19 World Cup to ICC, stating
“This question should be directed to the ICC. It depends on them how they wish to host and promote the U-19 World Cup. I don’t think lack of profitability is a reason behind India not hosting it. The BCCI has been spending crores on domestic cricket, which is a non-profitable venture. The U-19 World Cup not being held in India is more of an ICC matter than the BCCI being reluctant.”
Former BCCI secretary echoes the same sentiment by saying
“I don’t think we have anything against the U-19 World Cup. Lack of revenue is not the reason. It’s just that it is still to come to India,” He further added,
“On the other hand, it has been good for our boys that they have won it in conditions they don’t encounter at home. It helps in their development. And taking it to places like Malaysia and UAE helps the promotion of the game.”