Rondebosch Boys’ duo Asakhe Tsaka and Ethan Cunningham, as well as SACS’s Kaden Solomons, are the three WP players selected for the South African under-19 Cricket World Cup squad, which will be hosted by the West Indies in January and February next year.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced the squad yesterday, Wednesday November 17.
The junior Proteas will also take part in a pre-World Cup bilateral tour against the host nation in December to finalise the team’s preparations for the global showpiece.
The young contingent will be led by captain George van Heerden, while exciting talents such as Dewald Brevis and Tsaka will lead the charge with bat and ball, respectively when South Africa take on their international counterparts.
Brevis impressed local cricket fans with an explosive knock likened to AB De Villiers in the recent CSA Provincial T20 Knockout competition, while Tsaka maintained a notable economy rate of 6.42 with ball in hand.
“The process of putting this group of players together is only the pinnacle of the work that started as far back as three years ago when some of these players were exposed to the CSA Talent Acceleration Programme (TAP) for the first time”, Patrick Moroney, SA U-19s Convenor of Selectors, commented.
“All these players played in the CSA Cubs week hosted in January earlier this year. Covid has played a big part in things being different, especially taking into account the schools cricket programme where schools play each other on a week-to-week basis that could not take place because of Covid. But taking all into account, I believe that we have managed to select a team that will be competitive at the World Cup in the West Indies.
“We are blessed in the country with some exceptional talent, and I trust that these young men will use this as a platform to propel themselves into the cricketing world.
“Unfortunately, we can only select 15 players and three travelling reserves to the showpiece, but it was no easy task with an abundance of talent in the country. Some less fortunate players did not make these teams but no doubt that we will see them in the future plying their trade in the provincial and even national teams. I wish the team and staff well in their final preparation and wish them all of the very best,” Moroney said.
“We have a lot of exciting players in our group, and I am certain they will be well-led by George van Heerden,” said head coach, Shukri Conrad.
“I want us to have the courage of our convictions. Have the courage to play the way we have practised, to follow the philosophy that we have set out and, hopefully, we can adapt, depending on what conditions are prevalent in the West Indies, both on the tour and the World Cup.
“The World Cup is the priority, but we also have a series to the West Indies that we’d like to win. It is also great preparation for the boys. I would like to see our boys continue the work; we still have a little bit of work to do before we get there and once there, to go out and have the courage to play the way we want to play,” he stated.
“Ultimately, I believe if we do that enough, then we will be victorious. We are certainly not going there as a side who wants to just compete, or a side just thrilled to be there – we want to not only give a good account of ourselves but also get into the play-off stages and win tournaments.
“That’s a long way away, but if we follow the building blocks, we will be alright,” Conrad added.