We take a look at the top South Africa U19 talents ahead of their seven-match Youth ODI Tri-Series against England and Namibia, starting on 2 December.
1. Matthew Breetzke
The 18-year-old wicketkeeper opener has made a seamless step up to senior cricket, turning out solid performances for Eastern Province. Ever since his 71 for the CSA Invitation XI against Bangladesh, Breetzke has continued his form in first-class and List A matches for EP. His 94 against Border in the CSA Provincial One-Day Cup helped Eastern Province claim their first victory of the campaign on Sunday. With one eye on the World Cup and the other on a Warriors contract, a bright future lies ahead for the youngster.
2. Thando Ntini
The 17-year-old all-rounder has mainly shone with the ball of late. His performances for SA U19 in their Youth ODI series against the West Indies saw him take six wickets in three matches, a stellar performance for a young player in his debut series. The seamer all-rounder position is a highly competitive role in the squad, with the likes of Gerald Coetzee, Andile Mokgakane and Mondli Khumalo fighting for a spot in the XI, and Ntini will be aiming to make the position his own with a good run in the Tri-Series.
3. Akhona Mnyaka
The 18-year-old’s claim to fame came when he picked up a rookie contract for the Global T20 League, which was scheduled for November 2017, but he was then hit by the postponement of the inaugural tournament. The left-arm seamer was also one of the stars at the Coca-Cola T20 Schools in March, and took six wickets as underdogs Hudson Park made it to the final of the competition. Since then the youngster has made his T20 debut for Border in the Africa T20 Cup in September, and will aim to use his senior T20 experience in the 50-over format.
4. Raynard van Tonder
SA Cricket magazine’s future star in the 136th issue (April-June 2017 ) has replaced Wiaan Mulder as captain of the side. In the triangular series against Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka in January 2017, he scored three half-centuries in six matches. His form continued in the Youth ODI series against Sri Lanka, where he scored two more half-centuries in their three matches. Van Tonder’s last significant contribution with the bat came in the Youth ODI series against the West Indies in July, when he hit 131 off 133 balls in a five-wicket victory against the World Champions in the first ODI. Since then, it’s been four Youth ODIs and five T20s for Free State without a 50-plus score, followed by a double duck on his first-class debut for Free State in October as he looks to overcome a dip in form.
5. Jiveshan Pillay
The 19-year-old is one of the most experienced players in the side, having made his senior debut for North West in the Africa T20 Cup in September. He followed this with a half-century in the 2017-18 edition of the Ekasi challenge in a debut stint for the Titans, followed by a 74 on his first-class debut for North West, and 109 on his List A debut for his province. The left-hander will play a pivotal role in the Tri-Series, and is expected to be one of the certain picks for the World Cup in 2018.