SA A coach Malibongwe Maketa believes his side are in great shape ahead of their tour of Zimbabwe.
SA A play the first of two four-day Tests against Zim A in Harare starting on Saturday and Maketa is looking forward to the experience of taking charge of the team for the first time.
The Warriors head coach leads an exciting team, made up of several Proteas and other players who excelled in the Sunfoil Series last year.
‘It’s an amazing experience to be given the opportunity to work with Test players and future Test players,’ Maketa said. ‘It’s something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.’
The team will be led by Highveld Lions opener Stephen Cook, who made a successful Test debut earlier this year, while other Proteas in the squad are Stiaan van Zyl, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Dane Vilas, Heino Kuhn and Hardus Viljoen.
Some of the other players in the squad that shone domestically last year are Keshav Maharaj and Dwaine Pretorius.
‘The balance is great,’ Maketa says. ‘We have a good balance in terms of guys that have played Test cricket and guys that are currently Test cricketers and a few cricketers that are here that want to stamp themselves into that arena to become Test players, so in terms of balance, we couldn’t have got it any better.’
Maketa also hailed CSA for giving opportunities to such a broad variety of players. ‘CSA are taking the A team very seriously by selecting current Test players and also players that want to be at that level.
‘So this programme is amazing, especially our guys coming from franchise cricket to have done well and have an opportunity to measure themselves at the next level, it’s great.’
Both matches will be played at the Harare Sports Club.