In an effort to ensure the readiness of the Coca-Cola South Africa under-19s ahead of their tough task of being the host side at the ICC Junior World Cup in January next year, Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the senior provincial teams have agreed to include at least one youngster per side in the upcoming CSA Provincial T20 kicking off this weekend from 13-15 September.
The semi-final and final of the competition will be played the following week, on the 23rd and 24th of September.
The commencement of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa – which takes place between 17 January and 09 February – is less than five months away and CSA along with head coach Lawrence Mahatlane and his staff have been hard at work in preparing the squad. With that in mind, the identified players have been allocated to their respective provincial sides ahead of the T20 competition to get crucial time at the crease, playing against and alongside players with vast experience.
SA under-19s captain, Bryce Parsons, has joined up with the defending champions, the Central Gauteng Lions, while batsmen, Andrew Louw and Khanya Cotani have been included in the Northern Cape and North West sides respectively.
Fast bowlers, Achille Cloete (Boland), Siya Plaatjie (Western Province), Jarred Jardine (Northerns), Tiaan van Vuuren (Eastern Province) and Lifa Ntanzi (KwaZulu-Natal Inland) will also be representing their provinces, while all-rounder, Pheko Moletsane, will be involved with the Free State outfit.
“It’s pleasing to see the direction CSA has taken, asking provinces to play at least one under-19 during the T20 competition because it’s about trying to bridge the gap between schoolboy cricket and professional cricket,” Mahatlane commented.
“One of the key positives is to expose them to the professional environments, playing with the franchise and senior provincial cricketers, and getting them the exposure (they need) out in the middle. The crucial thing is spending time learning as much as possible. In preparation for this tournament, the players have been part of the nets and the whole preparation and we hope they start understanding what it takes to be a professional cricketer.
“For me, it’s all about exposure. The players can learn from some of the pros on how to manage their time, we know a lot of the players have their matric exams coming up, how to be a professional and make sure that you live a balanced life as they prepare for what will be a highlight for most of their careers,” he added.
Outside of the players that have represented the SA U19s, Mahatlane and the national selectors will also get a chance to look at the other youngsters who form a part of the CSA Talent Acceleration Programme. Momentum U17 Player of the Tournament, Michael Booth will feature for the KwaZulu-Natal Inland squad, while promising youngster, Lilitha Reed will be in the Border changeroom.
The SA U19s are next in action against India in a three-match Youth One-Day International series from 26-30 December at Buffalo Park, East London.
Coca-Cola SA under-19s to play in CSA Provincial T20:
Bryce Parsons (Central Gauteng Lions), Tiaan van Vuuren (Eastern Province), Khanya Cotani (North West), Achille Cloete (Boland), Jarred Jardine (Northerns), Lifa Ntanzi (KwaZulu-Natal Coastal), Siya Plaatjie (Western Province), Pheko Moletsane (Free State), Andrew Louw (Northern Cape)
CSA U19 TAP players to play in CSA Provincial T20:
Michael Booth (KwaZulu-Natal Inland), Litiha Reed (Border), Gerhardus Fourie (Limpopo), Jacques Vosloo (Mpumalanga), Jared Fuchs (Mpumalanga), Heath Richards (South West Districts), Neo Felane (Easterns)