CSA announced the South Africa U19 squad that will take on England and Namibia in a five-match Youth ODI Triangular series in Potchefstroom.
The series will be one of the last opportunities for selectors to have a look at possible picks ahead of the ICC U19 World Cup due to take place in New Zealand in early 2018.
Raynard van Tonder will captain the young team for the second time. He is looking forward to another opportunity to lead from the front and hopes to come out on top this time around. The youngsters fell two runs short of victory in the final of their five-match series against the West Indies in June this year, ultimately losing the series 3-2 to the defending champions.
‘It was really hard to accept the series loss in Durban against the Windies, but there’s been a lot of cricket since then and even more growth; not just by me, but by the team as well,’ Van Tonder said. ‘I’m really looking forward to captaining the boys again, I enjoyed stepping into the leadership position and learned a lot. Now I want to take all those lessons and put them into this triangular series.
‘The guys are excited and I’m also really excited. England and Namibia are tough competitors and it’s exactly what we need building up to the World Cup.’
Coach Lawrence Mahatlane believes that they have found the right balance as well as the sweet spot between youth and experience, and is looking forward to seeing how this team goes about the lessons learned from the Windies tour.
‘I’m really happy with the squad that has been put together by the selection panel,’ he said. ‘I feel we’ve got the right personnel for all the different scenarios and a group of really fired up youngsters. The series is going to be another tough task for the guys, and the way we apply ourselves and our skills will be the key.
‘There’s obviously a lot to play for, considering that we leave for the U19 World Cup in the first week of January next year, but for me right now, it’s about winning this series and making sure that we’ve laid the right groundwork for the tests that are still to come before we head out.’
The coach is optimistic about his team’s chances in the triangular and is pleased with the hunger shown by individuals during camps held in the last few months.
‘It bodes well for the team. I’ve seen how hungry they are when we get together for our sessions and the positive direction they have taken in the intervening months. It makes me really excited to see what they will bring to the party against the strong England and Namibian sides,’ he concluded.
The series will get under way from 30 November to 10 December.
SA U19 Youth ODI squad: Raynard van Tonder (capt, Free State), Matthew Breetzke (Eastern Province), Jean du Plessis (South Western Districts), Jason Niemand (Border), Gerard Coetzee (Free State), Jade de Klerk (Eastern Province), Fraser Jones (KZN Inland), Wandile Makwetu (Gauteng), Andile Mogakane (KZN Coastal), Kgaudise Molefe (Gauteng), Jacob Miltz (Gauteng), Thando Ntini (Western Province), Jiveshen Pillay (Northerns), Hermann Rolfes (Northerns), Kenan Smith (Eastern Province), Mondli Khumalo (KZN Coastal), Akhona Mnyaka (Border).