South African cricket fans have no need to sweat over the fast-bowling pipeline, writes KHALID MOHIDIN.
I was sitting laid-back in my seat after watching a thrilling game between the South African Colts and South African Schools at Newlands. Colts and Western Province batsman Bonga Makaka churned out a victory against the SA Schools side after the Colts found themselves losing grip of the match despite having to only chase down a mediocre total of 127.
Other than watching that exceptional knock from Makaka, I sat there thinking,’Did I just see the entire U19 2020 World Cup bowling lineup bowl?’
This year’s Coke Week was not as hyped-up as last year, largely due to a decrease in the number of SA U19 players in the tournament. This did not, however, decrease the quality of cricket on display.
Unlike the previous tournament, it was the bowlers who stole the limelight, particularly the pace bowlers. When the Colts and Schools teams were picked, it was the bowlers I was excited to see, having managed to observe the majority of the much-talked-about batsmen bat throughout the tournament.
The SA Schools vs SA Colts match gave me the chance, on a spicy Newlands wicket, to scout all the bowlers on my list of future stars.
For every cricket fan the worry of replacing the previous generation is always looming, but in the fast-bowling department there should be no concerns.
High-performance manager Vincent Barnes and his team will have their hands full for the next couple of years after a crop of talented quicks announced themselves at this year’s Coke Week. Being an exceptional fast bowler himself in the past – 323 wickets in 68 first-class matches at an average of 11.95 and an economy rate of 2.01 – Barnes will be smiling from ear to ear about the talent at his disposal.
If I was in SA U19 Coach Lawrence Mahatlane’s shoes, I would have been jumping for joy as my potential 2020 World Cup pace attack had just raised their hands during the 2018 Coke Week.
The understanding is that 150 km/h bowlers are highly sought after by the Proteas selectors … and rumour has it that three of the SA Schools pacemen are clocking that Utopian mark – Gerald Coetzee (18), Lifa Ntanzi (17) and Achille Cloete (17).
Not only do these players have raw pace, but they are all young enough to play in the U19 2020 World Cup.
On the Colts side, Tumelo Yeki will give these talents a run for their money. He finished with figures of 4-17 against a talented batting SA Schools batting lineup, including the wickets of Jonathan Bird, player of the tournament Bryce Parsons and highest run-scorer of the week, Tristan Stubbs.
All-in-all the future looks bright for South Africa, especially where bowling is concerned.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images