Local cricket stars aim for SA places in Durban
WESTERN PROVINCE’S Under-19 cricket team have been busy honing their skills in a number of friendlies and done enough in them to suggest they will be a force to be reckoned with at the Khaya Majola Cricket Week, beginning in Durban tomorrow.
And the 13-man squad have their sights on emulating last year’s side that went unbeaten – Province won all six matches played in the three formats used, to end off as unofficial champions.
“It would be nice to repeat the feat, and I’m upbeat we can, as the squad assembled has a far more balanced look about it to the one of 2012,” said Clinton Ravens, who coaches for a second year running.
“We played four warm-up games, and while we lost two of them, I was left pleased with the way we performed and happy with the enthusiasm and keen desire shown by the boys.
“The fact they enjoyed these occasions shows me the players are excited to be playing under the Province banner and wanting to be part of a team effort rather than play as individuals.”
Province begin their campaign against neighbours Boland (who they easily beat recently) before a clash with the Titans ( both encounters time-based games). They then play two T20 matches against North West and Limpopo.
Four players – Dayyaan Galiem, Zubayr Hamza, Hayes van der Berg and Clyde Fortuin – return to duty in a Province squad loaded with six players from Rondebosch (the unofficial No 1 team in the country).
Province could well hold a strong hand when it comes to selecting the SA Schools team, with the likes of Galiem, Van der Berg and Fortuin – who have all been capped at SA Under- 19 level – staking obvious claims, while Hamza (captain) and Keegan Wheeler have been in great nick with the bat.
Fortuin, 18, is a highly-rated wicketkeeper/batsman and who in the words of SA under-19 coach Ray Jennings last year is “more talented” than SA’s hottest player at the moment, Quinton de Kock – who is fresh off completing a hat-trick of centuries for the Proteas in the oneday format.
The Khaya Majola Week runs from December 16-21. The tournament is the flagship youth week and plays a major role in the selection of the South Africa under-19 squad that will go to next year’s ICC under-19 World Cup. Western Province Under-19 “A” Squad: Mogamat Zain Allie, Matthew Christensen, Greg Oliver, Clyde Fortuin, Dayyaan Galiem, Yolisa Mona, Zubayr Hamza (captain), Riaz Sader, Jason Fourie, Jay Stevens, Jean Strydom, Hayes van der Berg, Keegan Wheeler. Coach: Clinton Ravens. Manager: Allan Cyster.