After months of regional and national camps, including the naming of the squad, the South Africa under-19s have finally assembled in East London for their final pre-World Cup preparations, starting with a Youth One-Day International (ODI) series against India.
The three-match series, which takes place at the Buffalo Park Stadium between 26-30 December, marks an integral step in both team’s readiness for the 2020 ICC under-19 Cricket World Cup, taking place from 17 January – 09 February in South Africa.
The two sides last played each other when South Africa toured to India in February and March this year, playing two Youth Test matches which were followed by a quadrangular series that also included an India U19 B side and Afghanistan U19s.
In addition to the upcoming series, the junior Proteas will also take part in a Youth ODI quadrangular in Durban in early January, featuring India, New Zealand and Zimbabwe before playing two warm-up matches ahead of the World Cup opener against Afghanistan.
Head coach, Lawrence Mahatlane says he’s been happy with what he has seen from his players building up to the series, particularly at the recently concluded Khaya Majola Cricket Week, and looks to improve on that.
“I was very pleased. The boys had a lot of work done at camp prior to the Khaya Majola Week and we are starting to see some of the results. We began seeing the processes they’ve been working on being implemented during the national week and hopefully, they will keep growing.
“We don’t know much about this India team, we’ve only played against four of these players, so from a video point of view, we’ve got a bit on them, and we know the rest from how they’ve played (and their results,)” Mahatlane continued.
“For me, it’s about our processes, it’s about our guys getting opportunities. We are going to try a few combinations and give players opportunities to go out there and put their hands up,” the coach added.
The SA U19s go into this enthralling home series on the back of a disappointing Youth ODI series in June this year, where the youngsters went down seven-nil against a vastly experienced Pakistan outfit. Since then, the players have undergone a testing four-part Talent Acceleration Programme (TAP) camp, taking on the Northern Cape, Free State, North West and Easterns’ senior provincial sides before they reported for a 13-day camp in Pretoria earlier this month.
Wicket-keeper batsman and vice-captain, Khanya Cotani will be handed the reigns of captain for the opening match against India, as Bryce Parsons completes his recovery following an impingement in his back.
Cotani believes the team is in good spirits and in promising form ahead of the series against the reigning under-19 World Cup champions.
“The boys are in a good frame of mind. There were only three guys that didn’t play at Khaya Majola Week and most of the guys that were in there, got top performers awards. The guys are in form, our bowlers, batters, they’ve put in their work and their loads ever since camp,” Cotani added.
“This is a group that has been together since Pakistan, with a few guys joining at the camps, so we are a close unit and now all we need to do is put in the performances and boost out confidence before the World Cup,” he concluded.
The first Youth ODI clash on Boxing Day will get underway from 09h30 with live updates available on Cricket South Africa’s official Twitter page https://twitter.com/OfficialCSA and Facebook page https://web.facebook.com/CricketSouthAfrica. It also be streamed live on www.pitchvision.com.
SA under-19 Youth ODI series against India Squad:
Bryce Parsons (Central Gauteng, capt), Khanya Cotani (North West, vice-capt), Luke Beaufort (Eastern Province), Jonathan Bird (Western Province), Merrick Brett (Northerns), Achille Cloete (Boland), Gerald Coetzee (Free State), Tyrese Karelse (South Western Districts), Mondli Khumalo (KwaZulu-Natal), Jack Lees (Central Gauteng), Andrew Louw (Northern Cape), Levert Manje (Central Gauteng), Odirile Modimokoane (North West), Pheko Moletsane (Free State), Siya Plaatjie (Western Province), Ruan Terblanche (Boland), Tiaan van Vuuren (Eastern Province).
SA U19 Youth ODI series against India U19 in East London
Thu 26 – 1st Youth ODI South Africa U19 vs India U19 (Buffalo Park Cricket Stadium)
Sat 28 – 2nd Youth ODI South Africa U19 vs India U19 (Buffalo Park Cricket Stadium)
Mon 30 – 3rd Youth ODI South Africa U19 vs India U19 (Buffalo Park Cricket Stadium)