• U19s ready for final preparations

    SA u19 coach Lawrence Mahatlane says he is satisfied with his team’s progress as they embark on their final preparations for the World Cup in Bangladesh.

    With just nine days to go to their ICC U19 World Cup opening match against Bangladesh, Mahatlane is satisfied that his side have done a good job so far in preparing for the tournament where they will be defending their title.

    They departed last week for a five-day camp in Abu Dhabi to continue their preparation for the tournament after emerging victorious at the 2016 Cricket South Africa (CSA) Franchise Cubs Week in Stellenbosch.

    ‘I’m happy with the progress the team has made so far,’ Mahatlane said. ‘The performances we saw at Cubs Week and the way that the guys played were very encouraging. We saw some moments of brilliance with bat and ball and an exceptional fielding effort by the team.

    ‘The tournament [Cubs Week] played a crucial part in our training for the World Cup. It was our first full camp as a squad, post team selection and the way that guys gelled and performed bodes well for the bigger challenges that they will face in Bangladesh. We spent Cubs [Week] perfecting our processes and getting guys to understand what their roles and responsibilities are and they have taken well to them.’

    The training camp in Abu Dhabi includes warm-up matches against England U19s and a UAE invitation squad. Mahatlane believes that it is important to play competitive matches in similar conditions to Bangladesh before the team arrive in the country.

    ‘I thought it would be important for the team to acclimatise to conditions so that they don’t get a massive culture shock when they get to Bangladesh,’ he continued.

    ‘We have a few senior players who were part of the team that toured there in early 2015, but it’s important that the whole squad face the same conditions together before reaching the World Cup. The climatic and pitch conditions in the UAE are similar to what we will face in Bangladesh and it’s great that we will also get to play against England to help the guys get into World Cup mode a week before the first official tournament warm-up game in Chittagong.’

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