Matthew Montgomery, the captain of the Dolphins U19 Cubs side that won the recent CSA Franchise Cubs Week in Stellenbosch, is relishing the challenge of leading the South African U19 side on their upcoming tour of India, which is widely regarded as being the hardest tour for visiting cricket sides.
‘To be leading a South African team to India is going to be a real challenge, but I am looking forward to the opportunity,’ said Montgomery.
Heading into the Cubs week, Montgomery knew that if he put in some strong performances there was a good chance that he could be in line for a South Africa U19 call-up. He was disappointed by his Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Week performances, so he saw Cubs Week as an opportunity to put that right.
‘I think I went into the Cubs Week with a bit more determination. I wanted to prove myself as a player, but also as a leader and to have so many experienced players around me made that a lot easier.
‘I had an idea that if I did well enough and got selected for the South African team that I might also be the captain,’ added Montgomery, who starred with the bat throughout the tournament and will be joined on the tour to the sub-continent by three other players from the Dolphins Cubs side, Thamsanqa Khumalo, Lifa Ntanzi and Andile Mogakane.
The Glenwood duo of Thamsanqa Khumalo and Lifa Ntanzi were hugely influential in the team’s triumph, with the former scoring 218 runs at an average of 44 through the week. Ntanzi was the pick of the Dolphins bowlers, picking up eight wickets at an average of 10 with best figures of five for 15. Andile Mogakane was impressive with both bat and ball, scoring 151 runs at an average just shy of 40 and taking eight wickets at an average of 16 runs per wicket.
‘To have four players included in the national U19 side is a testimony to the strength of schools cricket and coaching in the province,’ said Heinrich Strydom, CEO of KZN Cricket. ‘We wish the squad all the best and a tour of India will only help them grow as cricketers.’
The selection of Montgomery and Mogakane takes the tally of KZN players selected for national age group sides to eight. They join the six players, including Khumalo and Ntanzi, that were picked for the SA Schools and SA Colts sides at the conclusion of the Coke Week at the end of last year.
The team will leave for their tour on 16 February and will return on 12 March. The tour includes two four-day Youth Test matches and four Youth One-Day Internationals.
Photo: Hollywoodbets Dolphins