The South Africa U19s are relishing the opportunity to pit their wits against some of the world’s leading white-ball cricket juniors in their first Youth One-Day International Quadrangular clash with India in Trivandrum on Tuesday.
Besides the defending ICC U19 Cricket World Cup champions – India – South Africa will also take on the India U19 ‘B’ side and Afghanistan U19s, who reached the semi-final in the 2018 edition of the tournament. The youngsters will play three round-robin matches before the final and third-place play-off on Monday 11 March.
‘This is going to be a challenging Quadrangular series, and we are aware of that,’ SA U19s assistant coach, Siya Sibiya, commented following the team’s practice on Monday. ‘We are in the subcontinent and we are playing against three other subcontinental teams. We are not the type of team that focuses on what the opposition is doing, who we need to target and where there’s an easy game, because I don’t believe there’s an easy game in this series.
‘It’s going to be very highly-skilled cricket and it’s going to be challenging for everyone involved. We are really relishing the opportunity to test ourselves against three really good teams.’
Sibiya explained that the team is looking forward to a fresh start in a different format, stating that the players will have to be precise in their performance and play at a higher tempo.
‘The buildup to the One-Day series has been very good, with lots of energy. We are starting a new chapter, we are raring to go. Everyone is excited to go out there and get their green and gold clothing on, their caps, and really represent South African cricket to the best of their ability,’ he added.
‘There’s not much change in preparation for the basics of cricket. It’s just an understanding of executing game plans, understanding where the high and low-risk zones are, and just looking for a more clinical execution of all three disciplines. It is a shorter game, the tempo is always higher, so our awareness will have to be heightened, and everyone must buy into being positive and play at a higher intensity.’
Looking at following the same pattern that occurred in England last year, the visitors are hoping to bounce back in the ODI series with some worthy displays. Through executing the basics, Sibiya wants the players to enjoy themselves in the quicker version of the game which they are more accustomed to.
‘We play lots of 50-over and T20 cricket, which has a fast tempo and where we can express ourselves. That is a lot more familiar to us than the longer version of the game. We have to go out there and execute our skills and back our abilities,’ he concluded.
India U19s have named a completely new squad for the series. Left-handed batsman Yashasvi Jaiswal is the only player retained from the ‘Test’ series, while South Africa have not made any changes to their touring party, with Jarred Jardine the one player yet to make an appearance.
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).
05 March: Quadrangular ODI India U19 vs SA U19 Sports Hub, Trivandrum
07 March: Quadrangular ODI India U19 B vs SAu19 St. Xavier College – KCA Ground, Trivandrum
09 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