After scoring a half-century on his birthday for the Warriors, we take a look at one of our previous Future Stars, Sinethemba Qeshile.
Hudson Park High School has received a sudden welcome spike of fame. The East London school has long lived in the sporting shadow of its powerhouse rival, Selborne College, but a recent blossoming of talent has put the school firmly on the cricketing map
Two Hudson Park players who were part of the SA u19 World Cup side – Akhona Mnyaka and Jason Niemand – are strong future prospects, but there is another phenomenal young man from Hudson Park who, through turning adversity on its head, could become the poster boy for South Africa’s talent pipeline. Stand up, Qeshile.
A top-order batsman and wicketkeeper, Qeshile has made it clear that batting is his primary focus, which should be music to the ears of South African cricket fans, as our national recruitment system has not fared well when it comes to nurturing black African batsmen.
Born in King William’s Town, his love for the game grew through his participation in the KFC mini-cricket programme, but it was at Gonubie Primary School (where the gift of hand-me-down cricket equipment was gratefully accepted) that his affinity for the game truly developed.
Hudson Park High School, however, proved to be the fertile ground upon which he started to make a name for himself. Dave Alers, Qeshile’s coach at Hudson Park, offered SA Cricket magazine some insight into the 18-year-old.
‘Sinethemba comes from a disadvantaged background. His mother was a domestic worker and he was looked after by a European family. They took him through primary school, before we gave him a scholarship and helped him out financially, with assistance from CSA. He has paid us back with hard work,’ revealed Alers.
His performances for Hudson Park earned him the priceless opportunity of playing in the Khaya Majola Week three times, joining a select group of players who have been selected for the SA Schools side twice. Many expected him to be an automatic selection for South Africa’s u19 World Cup squad, but his omission did not deter the young star-in-the-making.
‘Not being selected for the World Cup didn’t affect me that much, because I just knew a different chance would be coming,’ said Qeshile. ‘I told myself that I shouldn’t give up because there would always be time for another opportunity. Opportunities are always there and they are always open, so I just stuck to my gameplan and thinking processes. I made sure I focused on the next thing I had to do.’
That ‘next thing’ was a big step – his debut for the Warriors in the Sunfoil Series in May 2018. Qeshile took full advantage of the opportunity, scoring 52 not out in a draw against the Dolphins. The innings put the spotlight on the youngster and he was rewarded for his efforts with selection for the India spin camp at the end of April.
The camp proved invaluable in his development, as he received plenty of advice and insight from some of the players and coaches present, including former Warriors coach (and the current Proteas assistant coach) Malibongwe Maketa.
‘Sine is a very exciting young wicketkeeper-batsman. His presence and calmness at the crease are very impressive for a young player,’ said Maketa. ‘There’s no doubt that he’s destined for great things… now it all boils down to hard work and refining his game-plan. We are really excited about his talent and are looking forward to watching his development.’
Temba Bavuma has been the only Black African batsman to stand out at the top level of South African cricket since Nelson Mandela brought democracy to our land, a fact which should prove to be a great motivation for Qeshile in his career.
Alers is confident that the young man has all the attributes to become successful.
‘Out of all the batsmen I have worked with, particularly Black African batsmen, he has displayed the most incredible mental strength. He performs consistently and, if he gets chirped, he has shown that he can handle it,’ said Alers. ‘He has a great future ahead of him. He has strong life principles that he sticks by and, all-in-all, he is a gem. I’m hoping he bursts on to the scene and does exceptionally well in the years to come.’
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images