CSA announced their SA U19 World Cup squad on Monday and there were no surprises regarding the selection after their Tri-Series final triumph on Sunday.
The South Africa U19 side will travel to New Zealand from the 13 January to 3 February 2018 and will seek to repeat the heroics of the SA U19 side who won the World Cup in 2014.
Raynard van Tonder will captain a talented lineup laden with all-rounders, as Jason Niemand, Jean du Plessis, Andile Mokgakane and Hermann Rolfes aim to battle it out for starting positions in the side.
Matthew Breetzke and Jiveshen Pillay have shown their chemistry while opening the batting, while Van Tonder has made the No 3 role his own. Thando Ntini, Akhona Mnyaka and Gerald Coetzee have shown their pace-bowling talent in what is expected to be a well-balanced squad.
‘Congratulations to all the players who will be representing our country in New Zealand. We wish them everything of the best in the knowledge that they will represent us well and maintain the standards set by their predecessors,’ said CSA Acting CEO, Thabang Moroe.
‘I also extend best wishes to our head coach, Lawrence Mahatlane, and his management team who I know will leave no stone unturned to ensure our squad is well prepared.
‘When you look at this group of young players with their diverse backgrounds you see confirmation that development, transformation and excellence are all linked together in providing a very exciting future in fulfilling our vision of being a truly national sport of world-class standards.’
Breetzke, who made his franchise debut for the Warriors this season, was the leading run-scorer for SA U19 with 238 runs in the recently concluded Youth One-Day triangular series against England and Namibia in Potchefstroom.
Gauteng’s Wandile Makwetu is the only player selected in the team with previous World Cup experience after he was a part of the Bangladesh tournament in 2016.
Coach Lawrence Mahatlane is confident that the selectors have made the right choices and is excited by the collective experience of the team.
‘It’s definitely one of the most exciting times in these kids’ lives and careers and it’s a thoroughly deserved honour that they receive today. This is the culmination of the last 24 months’ hard work and they have certainly put in the hours and effort to be named in this World Cup squad,’ said Mahatlane.
‘I’m very excited as a coach to take this group to New Zealand. They are massively talented with the potential for even greater things and I’m confident that we have chosen the combination that will give us the desired results.
‘More than half of the squad have semi-professional cricket experience and we even have a franchise player in Matthew Breetzke. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the semi-pro coaches who bought into our vision for this team and for allowing these players space in their teams to help them prepare for what’s to come in less than a month now.
‘I’d like to convey my own congratulations to this team of incredible youngsters, who have played a lot of cricket so soon after writing exams, whether at school or university and done so with a lot of focus. We look forward to going the World Cup and making the country proud.’
South Africa U19 ICC World Cup squad: Raynard van Tonder (capt, Free State), Matthew Breetzke (Eastern Province), Jean du Plessis (South Western Districts), Jason Niemand (Border), Gerald Coetzee (Free State), Jade de Klerk (Eastern Province), Fraser Jones (KZN Inland), Wandile Makwetu (Gauteng), Andile Mogakane (KZN Coastal), Kgaudise Molefe (Gauteng), Thando Ntini (Western Province), Jiveshen Pillay (Northerns), Hermann Rolfes (Northerns), Kenan Smith (Eastern Province), Akhona Mnyaka (Border).
Lawrence Mahatlane (Head Coach), Wandile Gwavu (Assistant Coach), Chris van Noordwyk (Assistant Coach), Riaan Osman (Manager), Kyle Southgate (Performance Analyst), Lizahn Naude (Physiotherapist), Sipokazi Sokanyile (Media Liaison), Runeshan Moodley (Fitness Trainer), Robin Peterson (Technical Consultant), Maurice Aronstam (Mental Conditioning Coach).
Photo: Cricket South Africa/ Twitter