South Africa U19 batting coach Siya Sibiya is happy that the team is in a good frame of mind and focused as they prepare to take on India in the first match of the Youth One-Day International Quadrangular series in Chatsworth on Friday.
The four-team series also features New Zealand and Zimbabwe and will take place at the Chatsworth Oval and Kingsmead Cricket Ground from 3-9 January. The teams involved will use these encounters to sharpen their skills before the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup to be hosted in South Africa, which kicks off on 17 January.
During the pre-match interview, Sibiya emphasised the importance of the team taking the confidence gained from the last game – where the SA U19s recorded a five-wicket victory over India in the third Youth ODI in East London – into this match.
‘The team is in a good space,’ the assistant coach said. ‘We still understand the processes we need to follow and keep building from the last ODI. The belief factor is the main thing. The guys do believe that we are not just here to compete with them, we can beat them and hopefully going forward that can be what happens.
‘It’s not about neutralising them. It’s about doing what we need to do, taking care of our spaces, managing our processes and KPIs [key performance index] as a batting, bowling and fielding unit.’
Despite finishing on a positive note in the third match, the junior Proteas lost the opening two clashes of the bilateral series at the Buffalo Park Stadium by nine and eight wickets, respectively. India’s Yashasvi Jaiswal was named as the Player of the Series following his six wickets and 105 runs, including 89 not out in the second Youth ODI.
Sibiya believes India will come back fighting and has called on his players to keep their attention on their own game, rather than the opponents’.
‘We can’t look too much at what they do but we have to focus on what we do well, as the SA U19 side. Yes, they are going to come hard [at us], but at the end of the day, they are U19s, our boys are U19s. They are human, we are human. At the end of the day, the better side will win,’ he concluded.
Following the first match on Friday, the SA U19s will take on New Zealand at the Chatsworth Oval on Sunday before ending off the round-robin stage against Zimbabwe on Tuesday at Kingsmead.
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