17 Jan McKENZIE: STREET SMARTS AND FREEDOM TO PLAY NATURAL GAME WILL BE KEY TO SA U19S’ SUCCESS
PORT OF SPAIN: Former Proteas batter and now South Africa under-19s batting consultant Neil McKenzie believes the youngsters will seek to improve their street smarts across all facets of the game as the side look ahead to their second 2022 ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup fixture against Uganda on Tuesday.
The two teams, who both suffered opening game defeats to India and Ireland respectively, will be hoping for an immediate response when they face off at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago.
The clash gets underway from 15h00 (South African Time), with the action broadcast live on SuperSport 213/Golf and streamed on SuperSport’s YouTube channel.
Against India, the SA U19s dismissed the 2018 champions for 232, with fast bowlers, Matthew Boast (3 / 40) and AphiweMnyanda impressing, while Indian captain, Yash Dhuli top-scored with 82 off 100 balls (11 fours). In reply, the young Proteas made a solid start with the bat, with the exciting Dewald Brevis (65 off 99 balls) starring before Vicky Ostwalbagged figures of five for 28 to dismiss South Africa for 187 and seal a 45-run victory.
Ahead of the important encounter in Group B, McKenzie has complete faith in the Junior Proteas’ bounce-back-ability after a disappointing result against India, stating the importance of the players staying true to their natural attacking style of play.
“They are South Africans,” he began. “When you talk about South Africans, you talk about resilience, team spirit, ability and talent, and there’s no shortage of that with this U19 lot.
“It’s just about being a little bit street smart, a little bit more trusting of our game plans and the roles in the team, and then just go out there and do what you’ve been selected to do. Keep it nice and simple.
“The management staff under Shukri Conrad, we like the guys to go out there and play their games, going with a game plan and sticking to it,” he said.
“It’s an attacking mindset and on Saturday, we just went into a little bit of a default, where guys just tried to survive and take the game quite deep, where I think we could have been a lot more proactive,” McKenzie added.
In analysing the first game, where like the 2020 U19 World Cup edition hosted in South Africa in which the hosts also lost the first game to a subcontinent outfit, Afghanistan, McKenzie points to the well-drilled Indian bowling attack as well as the lack of strike rotation of the South African batters as the difference between the two teams.
“We knew wickets up front would be crucial and we got off to a decent start (with the bat) against a quality side that doesn’t give you much; very disciplined with the ball and you really got to do stuff and be proactive to get your ones,” the coach continued.
“With this side that we’ve got here, we’ve got so many exciting hitters, it’s just about trying to get the guys to be proactive; use your feet, hit down the ground for singles because there are no freebies on offer against a side like that.
“The guys have plenty of talent and striking ability, it’s just being a little bit street smart. Street smart in terms of the bowling, batting, the captaincy in terms of fields, angles etc” he noted.
“We were just a little off the mark, which is understandable. For these guys, it’s probably the biggest game they’ve ever played; on a World Cup stage and in foreign conditions, so we’ve learnt and we will come back,” McKenzie added.
In the all-African affair in the Caribbean, South Africa will be eager to improve on their 66% win rate in U19 World Cup cricket and claim their 50th victory in the tournament, having won 49 out of 74 matches.
Uganda will be after their third-ever win in the global youth event as they continue to enjoy their first World Cup appearance since 2006.
On the upcoming game, McKenzie said: “It’s always nice to see another African team in these major events and Uganda put up a very good fight against Ireland.
“Obviously, the loss to India put us in a bit of a knockout situation, where the next two games, you’ve got to win them, no matter who you are playing.
“We are going to try and stick to our strengths, give the guysfreedom and license to play the way they play and if we get a little bit more street smart and we get close to our ability and potential, I’m not too sure there’s too many teams that can compete with us,” the former top-order batter added.
“If the guys are enjoying it and are freed up, that’s the best opportunity and the best way to get the best out of these guys because it’s a phenomenal bunch of players, real quality young men with great team spirit.
“We just want to match that team spirit and the comradery in the camp by getting the best of the guys and putting in some proper performances,” McKenzie concluded.
South Africa’s 2022 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Group B Fixtures:
**All matches will get underway at 09H00 local time – 15H00 (SAST)
Tuesday, 18 January: SA under-19s vs Uganda (Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain)
Friday, 21 January: SA under-19s vs Ireland (Brian Lara Cricket Stadium, Tarouba)
2022 ICC Men’s U19 Cricket World Cup – South Africa Under-19 Squad:
George van Heerden (Captain) (Warriors), Liam Alder (Lions), Matthew Boast (KZN Inland), Dewald Brevis (Titans), Michael Copeland (Boland), Ethan Cunningham (Western Province), Valentine Kitime (Titans), KwenaMaphaka (Lions), Gerhard Maree (Free State), AphiweMnyanda (Warriors), Andile Simelane (KwaZulu-Natal Inland), Jade Smith (Warriors), Kaden Solomons (Western Province), Joshua Stephenson (Warriors), Asakhe Tshaka(Western Province)
Hardus Coetzer (Titans), Ronan Hermann (Titans), Caleb Seleka (North West)
Shukri Conrad (Head coach); Thabang Khumalo (Assistant coach); Blanche Conradie (Manager); Phumzile Ngobese (Physiotherapist); Curtley Diesel (Fitness Trainer); Kyle Southgate – (Video Analyst); Rory Kleinveldt (Bowling consultant); Neil McKenzie (Batting consultant); Salih Solomons –(Doctor)
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Issued by: Cricket South Africa – Corporate Communications
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