Charl­ton bats for semi-pros

The Citizen (KZN) - - SPORT - Ken Bor­land

Mark Charl­ton (above) has been pro­moted to high per­for­mance man­ager for the Ti­tans, hav­ing won four tro­phies in the last three years with the North­erns team, and he says the rapid progress of play­ers who have spent time in the am­a­teur provin­cial com­pe­ti­tions shows how im­por­tant the sec­ond tier of do­mes­tic cricket is for the pipe­line.

He was un­der­stand­ably de­lighted with the re­cent news that Cricket South Africa CEO Ha­roon Lor­gat had said they were aim­ing to up­lift the semi-pro­fes­sional level rather than cre­ate a sev­enth fran­chise.

“If you look at the se­nior provin­cial teams and what they do in the South African land­scape, it’s a bril­liant job. Guys like Ai­den Markram and Hein­rich Klaasen spent four sea­sons with me at North­erns and then af­ter one fran­chise sea­son they’re on the verge of the na­tional squad. A guy like Lungi Ngidi spent one-anda-half sea­sons with me, one-anda-half with the Ti­tans and then made the na­tional team. Tabraiz Shamsi is an­other guy who played a lot of semi-pro cricket, there are a lot of guys like that.

“The pro­file of that level needs to be lifted, the Africa Cup has been bril­liant in that re­spect, we need to raise the level of their ex­po­sure. So it’s great news if CSA back that, be­cause the sec­ond tier pro­duces some re­ally hard, tough cricket. We (North­erns) tested our­selves against Le­ices­ter­shire re­cently, with just nine of our reg­u­lar play­ers and we beat them, plus we’ve beaten the whole Ire­land team be­fore. So the stan­dard is pretty good and we do our job when it comes to pro­duc­ing play­ers,” Charl­ton told The Citizen.

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