The South Africa U19s have their eyes set on testing themselves against current world champions India during their upcoming tour of the subcontinent.
The tour will comprise of a Youth Test and a Youth Quadrangular ODI series that will take place from 16 February – 12 March in Kerala. The 15-player squad will leave for India on Friday following a gruelling pre-tour camp at the Powerade Centre of Excellence that included a two-day match against the Northerns senior provincial team.
Head coach Lawrence Mahatlane believes the series will provide ideal for his side to be exposed to the international platform, testing their skills and helping to identify future stars.
‘Our core business as the SA U19s is to give young men experience and hopefully identify future Proteas. I think a tour to India, who are world champions, is something important in order to expose these youngsters to a good tour, a good cricket culture, tough opposition and four-day cricket,’ said Mahatlane.
India are the current U19 World Cup holders having won it in 2018, and Mahatlane hopes the upcoming series will provide the building blocks going into the 2020 World Cup to be hosted by South Africa.
‘There’s no other better place to build character and to show what kind of attitude our young men have than touring the subcontinent,’ he added. ‘With tours like these, there’s no better learning experience. You can practice as hard as you want, but experiencing it for the first time and knowing that more than half the countries that play in the ICC play in the sub-continent will be invaluable.
‘If you are going to make a dent in the game of cricket and become known you will have to cope with these, and it’s better to experience them young, and hopefully these young men will show the character we believe they have,’ he concluded.
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CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe added, ‘We wish our players everything of the best as they start their journey to live their cricketing dreams. Touring India is both a challenging and enriching experience and it is important that our young cricketers get as much as they can out of this tour, both on and off the field.
‘This tour marks the start of our preparation for next year’s ICC U19 World Cup which we will be hosting. We have a proud record in this tournament, having won it in 2014 and reaching the final on several other occasions.
‘Our winning team of 2014 included current Proteas Kagiso Rabada, Aiden Markram and Andile Phehlukwayo, and this should provide the inspiration for the current class to excel,’ concluded Moroe.
South Africa U19 squad:
Matthew Montgomery (captain, Dolphins)
Luke Beaufort (Warriors)
Jonathan Bird (Cape Cobras)
Achille Cloete (Cape Cobras)
Gerald Coetzee (Knights)
Marco Jansen (Highveld Lions)
Thamsanqa Khumalo (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)
Photo: Hollywoodbets Dolphins