Photo Credit: SA20 League
That was Kwena Maphaka’s reaction after receiving the surprise call that he would be joining the Paarl Royals for Betway SA20 Season 2.
Maphaka is just 17-year-old and still only in Grade 11 at St Stithians High School in Johannesburg.
But the left-arm seamer is enjoying a whirlwind journey. After initially being one the youngest members of the SA U19 team that played in the ICC U19 Men’s World Cup in the Caribbean last year alongside the likes of MI Cape Town’s Dewald Brevis, he was catapulted into the South Africa ‘A’ senior side for the recent winter tour to Sri Lanka.
Maphaka’s selection sent shockwaves through South African cricket with the teenager yet to feature in a senior First-Class, List A or T20 match for his provincial union, the Lions.
Maphaka showed off his maturity and skill by not being over-awed as he delivered fine spells in both innings of the first Test in Kandy with figures of 2/43 and 1/27.
The Paarl Royals scouts were certainly keeping track of the youngster’s performances and made sure to sign up the prodigy even before the Season 2 auction took place.
Maphaka certainly could not contain his excitement after receiving the call.
“Wow! Is this really real? ” Maphaka told Betway SA20. “I was super stoked. I had to go home and recollect myself.
“It is really exciting to be picked for SA20. It’s a real privilege.”
Maphaka is also hoping to learn as much as he can from Proteas and Paarl Royals opening bowler Lungi Ngidi and West Indies superstar Obed McCoy, who is also a southpaw, during his time at Boland Park.
Maphaka will not be the lone youngster in Betway SA20 Season 2 after Pretoria Capitals splurged R1.6 million on his former SA U19 teammate Matthew Boast at the auction in Johannesburg last month.
Betway SA20 have also introduced a new “Rookie” category for Season 2 with each of the six teams selecting a player aged under 22 and had not played SA20 previously.
Another former SA U19 Class of 22 graduate Andile Simelane was picked up the champions Sunrisers Eastern Cape, while Connor Esterhuizen (MI Cape Town), Bryce Parsons (Durban’s Super Giants), Lhuan-dre Pretorius (Paarl Royals), Ronan Hermann (Joburg Super Kings) and Steve Stolk (Pretoria Capitals) were the remaining rookies chosen.