Raynard van Tonder has been named as the new SA U19 captain. We featured him in the latest edition of SA Cricket magazine.
Van Tonder possesses the attributes that every coach loves to see in a young player. Confidence, composure, determination and consistency.
The last two Khaya Majola Week tournaments were a prime example of the 18-year-old’s maturity. After a duck in his previous encounter, he showed great composure to smash 133 not out, to claim a spot in the final with a 55-run victory against Eastern Province in the semi-final. This, however, was his only stand-out score in a tournament he labelled unsuccessful.
The youngster said he had to regather his thoughts after his duck and confirmed that he was delighted to recover as well as he did.
‘It wasn’t really a successful Coke week for me,’ said Van Tonder.
‘Getting into the final was our main aim, so coming off a duck in my previous match, I’m glad I could get 133 in my next innings and contribute towards the victory.’
The final was a dismal one for Free State. In a rain-affected match, they only managed 100 runs as they slumped to an eight-wicket loss to Northerns. He was the only player to surpass the 20-run mark for his side.
The lanky teenager ended the 2016 tournament with 235 runs including one century, but considers his debut tournament in 2015 as more memorable, even though he ended the competition with less runs (208).
The youngster evaluates his performances based on his consistency, and after he ended the tournament with three half-centuries, he showed evidence of this. The then 17-year-old was rewarded for his purple patch with SA schools selection.
He retained the Knights captaincy for 2016’s CSA Cubs week, but expectations were high after the Knights made the final the previous year.
‘It was tough. I captained the side to the final in the previous tournament. So, this year, everyone expected us to do well again. I learned a lot because we won only one game, and with my eye set on making the SA U19 team, it made it difficult to achieve this in a losing team, so I had to be mentally strong.’
Once selected for the SA U19 side, Van Tonder truly blossomed. 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.
‘I was quite stressed every game because my goal was to just keep scoring runs. One innings is not good enough, so I worked extremely hard at my mental game; staying focused and spending a long time at the crease. Everyone wants a consistent player.’
Van Tonder’s dream, like any budding youth player, is to play for the Proteas, and with one eye firmly locked on becoming a regular for Free State, Van Tonder’s mindset proves that he is destined for great things.