Coca-Cola South Africa under-19 head coach, Lawrence Mahatlane, is determined to ensure his players are well-prepared for what is to come at the 2020 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup with a four-legged U19 Talent Acceleration Programme (TAP) camp scheduled for October.
A 13-man squad along with the coaching staff will arrive in Bloemfontein on Friday for the second leg of the camp, where they will face a Free State Senior Provincial XI at the Mangaung Oval in two 50-over clashes over the weekend.
Mahatlane aims to use the camps to help familiarise the players to the team’s style of play and the different conditions, with the matches played at the team’s possible Junior World Cup venues. The first camp was held in Kimberley last weekend, with Potchefstroom and Benoni the venues for the final two legs of the camp.
“Our first task in these camps is to make all the players try and understand the brand of cricket we are looking to play leading up to the World Cup,” Mahatlane commented on the eve of camp.
“It’s crucial that we take the players to the different venues. Then, when we arrive at the World Cup and they make the squad, we are not sitting in a position where they are strangers in their own country.
“Playing against Senior Provincial teams has shown, like it did last week, that you need to compete against more experienced players. I thought last week was a very good exercise, thanks to the Northern Cape side. To see the results of the two games, the boys learnt quite quickly what was expected and how they can play differently in those conditions.
“That was a pleasing weekend and this weekend again, taking on the Free State Provincial side, this is their home ground, they have played here every weekend, so it’ll be a good test for us,” Mahatlane continued.
Last week, the U19 TAP team took on the Northern Cape Senior Provincial XI in two highly competitive matches, with Mahatlane’s side going down by 123 runs in the first match before bouncing back and claiming a hard-fought 75-run victory in the second clash.
Amongst the 13 players called up for this weekend’s matches, Mahatlane named an experienced group including SA U19 captain, Bryce Parsons, wicketkeeper Khanya Cotani and fast bowlers, Lifa Ntanzi and Achille Cloete. There are also new faces in the camp in the mould of exciting talents, Lilitha Reed, Jade Smith and Siyathemba Mdlankomo.
“We are looking to get fresh players in every weekend, while also trying to build some continuity from the guys coming back,” the head coach confirmed. “For the new guys, it’s a learning process, and the guys that played last weekend, it’s going to be crucial for them to share their ideas with the new guys joining us, about what we’ve done and how we are looking to play.
“It is exciting to see six new players and give them an opportunity to experience playing against Senior Provincial sides,” he added.
The SA U19s are next in competitive action later this year, with three Youth One-Day Internationals against India from 26-30 December at Buffalo Park in East London.
CSA U19 TAP Squad (vs Free State):
Bryce Parsons (Gauteng), Jade Smith (Eastern Province), Ruan Terblanche (Boland), Ruan Cronje (Free State), Andrew Louw (Northern Cape), Emmanuel Motswiri (Easterns), Emihle Mqogi (Border), Nonelela Yikha (Border), Achille Cloete (Boland), Lifa Ntanzi (KwaZulu-Natal Coastal), Merrick Brett (Gauteng), Siyathemba Mdlankomo (Eastern Province), Lilitha Reed (Border)
CSA U19 TAP Camps:
05 – 06 October – CSA U19 TAP team vs Free State (Bloemfontein)
12 – 13 October – CSA TAP U19 team vs North West (Potchefstroom)
19 – 20 October – CSA TAP U19 team vs Easterns (Benoni)