The Coca-Cola South Africa under-19s head coach, Lawrence Mahatlane, has asked the players to back the processes in place ahead of the all-important fourth Youth One-Day International (ODI) against Pakistan in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.
With the home side trailing three-nil in the series, Mahatlane has urged the youngsters to trust in the work they’ve put in while maintaining the consistency required to handle the game-changing moments better, to turn the series around.
“The message has been about believing in the process,” the coach said during the team’s practice on Saturday morning. “Throughout these three games, we’ve done certain things very well at certain times, we just haven’t put it all together. It’s about backing the process and going out there, putting it together.
“The key is consistency; winning the big moments as well. From a players’ point of view, they understand that during those big moments, we’ve been under a bit of pressure. If we look at the first game in chasing, we left ourselves a bit too much to do in the end and ended up 17 runs short. In the second game, we had chances as well and the third game, I thought they batted superbly well on a very good wicket. Our bowling wasn’t up to scratch after our batting came to the party.
“So, it’s about putting both disciplines together,” Mahatlane continued.
Although results haven’t gone their way, the SA under-19 players have shown their potential through notable individual performances. In the three matches thus far, Bryce Parsons has picked up four wickets with an economy rate of 4.33, while Ruan Terblanche recorded a maiden century (110 off 134 balls) and Andrew Louw notched up a high score of 91 off 114 deliveries.
Mahatlane believes a few individuals have stepped up despite the results and expects more from the rest of the team in order to carry the form throughout the match if they are to get the better of a skilled Pakistani outfit. He’s earmarked the remaining four games of the series and the upcoming encounters against India, Zimbabwe and New Zealand later this year for the players to stake their claims.
“Most of them have (grabbed their opportunities). In terms of the batting, obviously the scores from Terblanche and Louw stand out. A guy like Luke Beaufort is averaging 48 for us in the series and I think the bowling unit has bowled well. It’s just again, all individuals have really stood up but unfortunately, when you play against an experienced side you are not allowed to have half an hour of madness if you want to call it that and we seem to have had those,” he added.
“It’s that whole transition from schoolboy cricket to under-19 cricket and we still have four games left in this series, then we’ve got seven against India, Zimbabwe and New Zealand.
“That is eleven games where guys can keep learning and keep growing.”
With the 2020 U19 Cricket World Cup in the forefront of the preparations and the series, Mahatlane is looking to give more players an opportunity to fight for a place in the side and ultimately a spot in the World Cup fifteen. Bowling all-rounder and right-arm off-spinner, Pheko Moletsane has been brought into the squad for the remainder of the Youth ODI series.
“I am excited with the group of players we have,” he insisted. “We are going to give opportunities to other players. Pheko will come into the squad and we might bring in another two or three guys because you want to test them in terms of playing internationally. Hopefully, by the end of this tour, we will have watched 20-22 players play youth international cricket and understand how they react to the pressures.
The fourth Youth ODI takes place on Sunday, 30 June at the City Oval from 09h00. Regular updates will be available through Cricket South Africa’s platforms on Facebook (www.facebook.com/cricketsouthafrica) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/officialcsa).
Coca-Cola South Africa U19 squad: Bryce Parsons (captain, Gauteng), Luke Beaufort (Eastern Province), Jonathan Bird (Western Province), Achille Cloete (Boland), Gerald Coetzee (Free State), Khanya Cotani (North West), Micheal Copeland (Gauteng), Andrew Louw (Free State), Pheko Moletsane (Free State), Lifa Ntanzi (KZN Coastal), Imraan Philander (Western Province), Siya Plaatjie (Western Province), Ruan Terblanche (Boland), Tiaan van Vuuren (Eastern Province), Nonelela Yikha (Border).