North West Dragons impart cricket knowledge on African U19 stars.
It was a day of giving back and ensuring the legacy of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup Africa Qualifier Division Two continues long after the conclusion of the week’s action. The North West provincial side conducted a coaching clinic for the tournament’s semi-finalists on Friday at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom, working on basic skills while sharing various experiences of the game with the youngsters.
The clinic was divided into four parts, focusing on fielding, bowling, batting and the mental aspect of cricket. The players and coaching staff from Nigeria, Mozambique, Tanzania and Sierra Leone got the opportunity to learn from experienced cricketing minds as they stepped up their preparations ahead of the business end of the competition.
This formed part of ICC Africa’s legacy programme to continue to grow and improve the quality of the game on the continent.
‘This was a very crucial session for us,’ says Justine Ligyalingi, ICC Africa development officer. ‘This legacy programme is part of the events that we run during the tournaments. We try and use the free days to give the boys an opportunity to interact with those that have excelled in this game, so it was a big honour for us to have the Dragons’ players and the coaching staff led by the senior coach Monty Jacobs.
‘They worked with the boys for four hours, imparting various skills to them, so we think it was a very beneficial session for the youngsters,’ added Ligyalingi.
With the teams rotating between the four drills at hourly intervals, the North West Cricket personnel had sufficient time to share as much knowledge with the players as possible, working on the players’ batting technique, the bowlers’ body positioning on delivery as well as developing fielding skills.
Despite the importance of improving core cricket skills, Dragons head coach and 2014 CSA Semi-Professional Coach of the Year Monty Jacobs was impressed by the players’ passion and hunger for the game – the aspect he enjoyed the most throughout the day.
‘It was a beautiful day, the kids’ passion and eagerness for learning was exceptional. There’s a lot of hidden, natural talent and it was a really exciting and wonderful day with these boys,’ beamed Jacobs.
‘Today, it was about honing some of the technical batting and bowling skills and I found some of them just got into it naturally.
‘These boys are strong and fit and their movement was naturally good. It obviously takes more than a day to put in the hard work needed to develop the skills but I was quite impressed from what I saw,’ he remarked.
Although a lot of hard work was put in by the players throughout the course of the day, it a fun-filled time for the budding cricketers.
‘Everyone was excited, training with a good team like North West,’ says Sylvester Okpe, Nigeria U19 captain. ‘We learned a lot from them, the batting, the bowling and the fielding. The talk we had about our mindset going into matches was very inspirational.’
Photo: Cricket South Africa