South Africa U19 will head into the fourth and final Youth ODI against the West Indies on Monday on a high.
The visitors lead the series 2-1 after claiming two narrow victories either side of an eight-wicket defeat.
The series on the island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an important part of SA U19’s preparations for the U19 World Cup in the Caribbean from 14 January to 5 February.
“As a team, we’ve gained tons of experience playing in the conditions we have been exposed to and have learned to be patient on and off the field as things may not always fall into place when we need them to,” said all-rounder Michael Copeland, SA U19’s most experienced player having made his debut in 2019 and played seven Youth ODIs. “But that is uncontrollable, and we have remained focused on what we can control.
“A series win for us will really set us in good pace going into the World Cup. In saying that, the West Indies team have put up a great fight up to now, which has allowed us to learn some vital lessons along the way as we’ve realised the game is more mentally connected than we think and as the games have been nailbiters until the end.”
The trip to the Caribbean Basin, coupled with strict Covid-19 safety measures in place, is a first for most of the South African youngsters. Some players have taken an overseas flight for the first time ever, while others are spending an unusual amount of time away from their families as teenagers.
Copeland suggests this has helped build and foster the togetherness within the squad as they look to seal a confidence-boosting series victory.
“The journey getting here has been long; as we’ve taken flights from Johannesburg to Germany, then to Barbados and lastly to Saint Vincent,” Copeland said.
“Being in a bio-bubble for around two weeks now and being away from our families has been hard for some of us but we have come to realise that we are the closest thing we’ve got to family now, which has brought us even closer together.
“I have great confidence in us as a team going into the last game of the Youth ODI series before the World Cup and hopefully we can make our country proud.”