Australia in SA

SA 'A' quickie out to impress

2011-10-31 20:01
Pumelela Matshikwe (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The South African “A” side’s four-day tour match against Australia starting on Tuesday at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom is a mixed bag of opportunities for the players in the group.

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The squad is a mixture of seasoned professionals and fledging youngsters, who will all be looking to move a step further in their cricket careers.

“The SA "A" team provides the short term needs of the Proteas,” said coach Vincent Barnes. “You have a combination of players who are knocking on the door of a national call-up, Proteas players who are coming back from injury and some young exciting players who are coming through the ranks.

“Playing against Australia also gives the players the chance to measures themselves against quality opposition and for us (coaches) to monitor the progress of players who are doing well domestically.”

Highveld Lions fast bowler, Pumelela Matshikwe, has been called up to the squad after an impressive run with the ball for his franchise. The right-arm bowler has been identified as having potential for the future by the national selectors, and is hoping to put in a competitive showing against some of his favourite cricketers.

“My goal for the season was to take my cricket to the next level, and this is a great opportunity for me to do that,” said Matshikwe. “We are playing against some of the best international cricketers in the world and putting in a good competitive performance will help me gauge where my cricket is at.

“I also see playing for the SA A as an opportunity to make my mark, and to establish myself as a household name in the country.”

Matshikwe was part of the Cricket South Africa (CSA) National Academy in 2009, and has represented South Africa in two emerging players’ tournaments in Australia. He has been on the fringes of the Lions’ franchise squad for a few seasons now, and although he is a late bloomer, he is beginning to show encouraging progress that the selectors cannot ignore. That progress includes topping the wickets list of the Supersport Series with 19 scalps, after only playing three matches.
Another new recruit in the selectors’ radar, is 21 year-old fast-bowler, Marchant de Lange from the Titans. De Lange has taken 50 first-class wickets in only 13 matches and along with Matshikwe, brings a positive forecast for South Africa’s pace future. Even if these players fail to make the starting XI tomorrow, their exposure to working within a national team  setup will give them plenty of insight to work with when they return to their respective Franchises.

South Africa A squad: Alviro Petersen (Highveld Lions, captain), Farhaan Behardien (Titans), Marchant de Lange (Titans), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Dean Elgar (Knights), Pumelela Matshikwe (Highveld Lions), Ryan McLaren (Knights), Wayne Parnell (Warriors), Robin Peterson (Cape Cobras),Thami Tsolekile (Highveld Lions), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Stiaan van Zyl (Cape Cobras).

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