The Schools T20 Challenge, which sees South Africa’s top eight school T20 teams battling it out to be named national champions, takes place this weekend in Stellenbosch.
The event is often the first taste of franchise cricket for many of its participants. Since its inception, multiple Proteas and franchise players have come through its ranks. With this year’s event scheduled to take place from 24-26 March, 2017 looks set to continue the tournament’s hero making trend.
The Coca-Cola Schools T20 Challenge offers school sides the unique chance of representing, and donning the colours of their local franchise teams. For many of them this will present an opportunity of a lifetime – the chance to progress to senior franchise ranks.
In its short five-year history the tournament has already seen the likes of Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lungi Ngidi, Theunis De Bruyn and England opening batsman Keaton Jennings taking part. This, together with the numerous franchise players to have progressed through the tournament, is evidence of its hero making potential.
In recent tournaments, current Coca-Cola SA U19 captain, Wiaan Mulder, starred for St Stithians/Lions. Mulder inspired his team to victory in 2014, before ending the 2016 edition as top run scorer and top wicket-taker.
In recognition of the heroes that will be made at this year’s tournament, Coca-Cola, with the help of Proteas legend, Robin Peterson, will once again be recognizing and rewarding the Hero of the Day. The award was launched in 2014 and has already seen some of its recipients achieve big things including Wihan Victor, who is currently on the books of Free State. Wihan won the award in 2014 scoring 113 in 51 balls.
The 2017 Coca-Cola Schools T20 Challenge National Finals will take place at the University of Stellenbosch Cricket Oval from 24-26 March.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images