Ziyaad, 18, hopes to be­come SA’s own Waqar

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - MIKE DE BRUYN

ZIYAAD ABRA­HAMS has set him­self the goal of play­ing Test cricket for South Africa in the next five to six years.

The 18-year-old Western Prov­ince Sport School (WPSS) Grade 12 pupil, who was play­ing at club level aged 10, is head­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

The right-arm fast bowler ex­celled for the WP Un­der-17 team at last year’s Cricket South Africa U17 Week, end­ing the tour­na­ment in Johannesburg as the lead­ing wick­et­taker with 15 scalps.

Then in March this year, he rep­re­sented the SA U19 team in a se­ries of home- and- away one- day matches against Bangladesh, tak­ing 10 wick­ets in four games.

Abra­hams is set to lead the WP U19 at­tack at the Khaya Ma­jola Week in Port El­iz­a­beth next month, and he will no doubt make a big im­pact as he is back on home soil hav­ing been raised in the East­ern Cape.

The teenager says he can’t wait to help his side win the tour­na­ment.

“It’s al­ways an hon­our to rep­re­sent one’s prov­ince. I played two years for the WP Un­der-17 team and last year we ended as the lead­ing team. Now for a new chal­lenge,” he said. “Re­turn­ing to PE will bring back fond mem­o­ries. It was there that I started to play sport, soc­cer be­ing my first love. I was a goal­keeper and en­joyed it.

“My dad Shukri, who coaches cricket at WPSS, was a good crick­eter in his time. He was an open­ing bowler and got to wear SA colours at school level, be­fore go­ing on to play for the East­ern Prov­ince se­nior team,” he con­tin­ued.

“Hav­ing him teach me the tricks of the trade helps me grow in more ways than one. Dis­ci­pline is first and fore­most. There’s no spe­cial favours dished out to me at school; I have to work as hard as the other boys to win ap­proval, that’s the way I like it.

“An ex­am­ple of this played out when we ar­rived at the school in 2012. I started out as a leg-spin­ner in the first term and took three wick­ets in a WP Un­der-15 tri­als game. When I checked the team sheet for the next trial my name wasn’t there, so I asked my dad why and he said I ‘wasn’t good enough, that I needed to work hard for next year to make it’.

“He was right at the time. I’ve been do­ing just that ever since then and it’s pay­ing div­i­dends.”

Ziyaad’s fa­ther says he has no prob­lem chat­ting to other coaches about his son. “Fast bowl­ing is an art form and more heads than one can only help Ziyaad’s cause. How to swing the ball both ways, va­ri­ety of de­liv­er­ies, how to out-think bats­men and the like is a process that takes years to mas­ter,” Shukri said.

“He’s slowly but surely get­ting there. Tak­ing wick­ets reg­u­larly is a con­fi­dence-booster, but he’s not get­ting ahead of him­self, he knows that he’s only as good as his last game.”

Young Abra­hams lists Pak­istan leg­ends Wasim Akram and Waqar You­nis as his favourite play­ers.

“They were mas­ters of their craft. The way they went about their busi- ness was a true learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for me. They let their bowl­ing do the talk­ing and they cashed in big time. Hope­fully one day I can also do like­wise,” he said.

An­other mem­ber of the Abra­hams clan is a fine crick­eter in his own right, that be­ing Shaakir, 21, a left-arm spin­ner who rep­re­sented the SA Schools team in 2012.

It’s go­ing to be in­ter­est­ing to see how the two tal­ents, who got to play in the same club side as their dad grow­ing up, for­ward their ca­reers over the next couple of years.

One has a funny feel­ing they just might make it as pro play­ers.


ZIYAAD ABRA­HAMS: ‘I have to work as hard as the other boys to win ap­proval’

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