Phoenix pupil stars at cricket week
RYANSeerpath, a Grade 12 pupil at Phoenix Secondary, is still on cloud nine after being picked for the KZN Under 17 Schools Cricket team about a month ago.
The left-arm medium pace bowler caught the eye of the selectors during three days of gruelling trials held at the Glenwood High, DHS and DHS Old Boys Cricket Grounds where the cream of under 17 schoolboys displayed their talents.
Ryan, 17, represented the Durban and Districts Cricket Union’s development team.
According to KZN High Schools Cricket president Vee Lala, who was especially pleased that a Phoenix pupil had made the team, Ryan has become the first pupil from the area to make a KZN schools representative side in the past decade.
“His selection will motivate other youngsters from this community to pursue their cricket ambitions,” said Lala.
Small wonder the selectors dubbed him the find of the week, his tight lines and the innate ability to trouble batsmen by bringing the ball back into righthanders (his stock delivery) from over the wicket is what paved the way for his selection.
Now Ryan, and 12 other boys are preparing to have a stab at the National Under 17 Cricket Week that is scheduled for Grahamstown in December, where a good showing can earn them national colours.
Unperturbed by the odds or the fact that he was going up against some of the most polished cricketers in the province, the determined youngster who previously got to trials but failed to make the final cut, made winning the black KZN blazer one of his main priorities for this year.
With expert guidance from DDCU development coach Elvis Govender who looks to fast-track talented youngsters through the union’s elite programme for primary and secondary schools from former disadvantaged communities, plus unstinting support and mentorship from the schools cricket master, Raj Maharaj, and principal Siva Subrayen, Ryan’s game prospered.
Realising the need to put in work of his own to be in tip-top condition, he worked vigorously on improving his fitness levels as well as spent long spells at the local municipal nets where he worked on hitting the right areas with his deliveries.
“I knew the trials were going to be tough, therefore I pushed myself to work harder so that I could go all out to get selected,” said Ryan.
“As a youngster I always dreamt of playing at a high level some day, wearing a shirt with my name on the back – playing in front of a big crowd.
“Going into 2009, I set two goals for myself: make the KZN team and get six As in the matric exams, which start on Tuesday. Now that I made the team, I’m not prepared to stop there, I hope to emulate former greats like Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald and the more recent stars, Dale Steyn and Wayne Parnell,” added Ryan.
Recently, he was thrown into the deep end when making his debut for Verulam’s Challenge Division team in a league match when his captain tossed the new ball to him at the start of a match against a strong Uthungulu side, he didn’t flinch but responded with an accurate spell of bowling.
“Ryan is an all-rounder in the true sense of the word,” said Subrayen.
“Apart from cricket, he’s a wonderful footballer and a talented 800m athlete who regularly represents the school and district.
“What stands out about this youngster, who is our head boy, is his great leadership qualities.
“I’m also predicting that he will get six As in the exams,” said Subrayen.