SA U19 head coach Lawrence Mahatlane has called for his players to put their hands up and show their true potential with the bat in their second Youth ODI quadrangular series fixture against India U19 ‘B’ in Trivandrum on Thursday.
The youngsters hope to bounce back after a disappointing batting collapse in their 157-run loss against India U19s in their opening encounter. Mahatlane believes that with the right temperament and execution of the plans, the batsmen have the capability to succeed in the challenging spin-friendly conditions.
‘It’s about learning how to approach it,’ said Mahatlane after Wednesday’s training session. ‘We are facing different kinds of spin every single day, and from a basics front we need to understand the time of the year it is in the subcontinent and that there are a lot of dry conditions. It is a test by spin, and it is important that we stand up to it with clear game plans.
‘I thought there were times in the Test series where we showed good character, and it’s crucial, even here, for us to stand up to some of these exciting young bowlers and show our worth. Our boys can play spin, but it is a matter of making sure they don’t get overawed by the occasion,’ he explained.
Despite a difficult display at the crease in the first Youth ODI, Mahatlane was impressed with how the players performed with ball in hand and in the field. A Marco Jansen-led bowling attack took all 10 wickets to dismiss their opponents for 251. The tall left-arm seamer shone among his teammates, taking figures of 4-30 in his seven overs.
‘It was a good bowling and fielding performance to restrict a very good Indian side to about 250 and then to bowl them out, which for me was one of the crucial things. A part of the performance indicators is to make sure we get to that space where we are bowling teams out. I thought the boys did well to achieve that,’ he added.
Looking forward to tomorrow’s fixture, Mahatlane is refusing to be misguided by the ‘B-team’ tag that the opponents have, saying that they will be just as talented as their senior U19 team, and his players will have to be on top of their game. The South Africans will make a few alterations for the match, and the head coach hopes the players who come in will showcase their development and inspire the side to a much-improved showing.
‘It’s hard to refer to an India U19 side as a “B” side,’ he admitted. ‘I think two of the young men in that side have IPL contracts for this year. We know that they’ve got the ability and the talent, so it’s important for us to go show the skill level we know we have and that we’ve worked on in these last three months in all three disciplines. I have spoken a lot about growth (throughout the tour) and I really want to see that growth come out tomorrow.
‘I am excited in that we are again giving more guys an opportunity. Hopefully, the new guys will bring in a bit of new energy and we can go out there and surprise a few people,’ concluded Mahatlane.
South Africa U19 squad
Matthew Montgomery (captain, Dolphins)
Luke Beaufort (Warriors)
Jonathan Bird (Cape Cobras)
Achille Cloete (Cape Cobras)
Jarred Jardine (Highveld Lions)
Marco Jansen (Highveld Lions)
Thamsanqa Kumalo (Dolphins)
Bonga Makaka (Cape Cobras)
Andile Mogakane (Dolphins)
Kgaudise Molefe (Highveld Lions)
Lifa Ntanzi (Dolphins)
Bryce Parsons (Highveld Lions)
Siya Plaatjie (Cape Cobras)
Ruan Terblanche (Cape Cobras)
Nonelela Yikha (Warriors)
7 March: Quadrangular ODI India U19 B vs SAu19 St. Xavier College – KCA Ground¸ Trivandrum
9 March: Quadrangular ODI SA U19 vs Afghanistan U19 Sports Hub, Trivandrum
11 March: Quadrangular ODI Final & 3rd/4th Play-off Sports Hub / St. Xavier College – KCA Ground, Trivandrum
Photo: Cricket South Africa