Rising young star Bryce Parsons is happy to be getting the recognition he strives so hard to try and achieve and is hoping for a prosperous season ahead when he can break into the Gauteng Strikers team and help the South Africa Under-19 team prepare well for the forthcoming World Cup.
The talented 18-year-old was the big winner at the recent Cricket South Africa (CSA) Amateur Breakfast Awards, held in association with KFC, at the Maslow Times Square Hotel in Pretoria. The SA Under-19 captain was named Coca-Cola U19 Cricketer of the Year for his efforts with the national team and also collected the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Cricket Week Player of the Tournament.
“To get recognition as a young cricketer in South Africa is great,” Parsons said. “It’s always good to see that your hard work has paid off.
“I was obviously really pleased to get the awards. The Coke Week one I expected because I was the Player of the Tournament in Cape Town. I thought I was at the breakfast for that award specifically, so to hear my name called up again for the SA U19 Cricketer of the Year was a shock.”
The all-rounder was a key part of Gauteng’s victorious Coke Week campaign, scoring 277 runs in six matches, including an incredible 129 not out off 115 balls on Day 4 against Northerns. He also took nine wickets with his left-arm spin.
His efforts subsequently earned him a maiden call-up to the national Under-19 side that toured India in February.
Despite not meeting his own high standards, he was still one of the best performers for his side, who lost the Test series 2-0 and won one out of three matches in a quadrangular series won by India B Under-19.
Parsons was then handed the armband when Pakistan visited these shores recently – the tourists whitewashing the hosts in a seven-match one-day series.
“I felt the India tour was an average one on an individual level, there was nothing special, and then captaining the side against Pakistan was a huge challenge,” the teenager explained. “The results were not what we expected and not what we wanted as a team.
“But we played against probably the best two Under-19 teams in the world and we’ll only learn from those experiences. I think we are already growing as a team.
“The awards were good reward, but now I know I need to work even harder in the year ahead to get even better.”
In winning the awards, Parsons has emulated the likes of Wiaan Mulder and Quinton de Kock – some of the most recent graduates from his province.
The youngster says he takes a lot of inspiration from the former, who is also an all-rounder and went on to represent the Standard Bank Proteas in the same year he was named SA U19 Player of the Year for the second time.
“Of course, the way Wiaan has shot up through the ranks, it just gives all youngsters hope that you’re not as far away as you may think,” he stated. “The road is quite a hard one to get to, becoming a professional cricketer. But Wiaan gives you hope that you can do it and you need to follow your dreams.”
Parsons, currently in the final stages of a six-week break recovering from injury, says his targets for the season ahead are to help his team do well at the World Cup, which South Africa will stage in January and February next year, and also start playing regular provincial cricket.
“Playing a World Cup on home soil and in your own back yard is always going to be nice,” Parsons beamed. “Having friends and family to come and support you will also add that extra incentive.
“But then there will obviously be that extra pressure to perform. The expectation will be there with a World Cup at home, but I think the team is ready for that, so it’s a big positive that it will be here. Hopefully we can have a good competition and meet all our goals.”