Cape Town - The South Africa under-19s
are filled with excitement as they strive to make the nation proud ahead of
their ICC under-19 Cricket World Cup opening match against Afghanistan in
Kimberley on Friday.
The tournament will be hosted in South Africa between January 17-February 9 across four cities: Kimberley, Potchefstroom, Bloemfontein
It's been 20 years since South Africa hosted this global spectacle when they hosted it for the first time in 1998.
The youth tournament that has
seen the emergence of current Proteas like Kagiso Rabada, Aiden
Markram and Quinton de Kock.
South Africa's opening match against Afghanistan will get
underway from 10:00 at the Diamond Oval and will be broadcast live on
SuperSport 6. Entry into the ground is free of charge.
Speaking at the team's final
training session at the ground, head coach, Lawrence Mahatlane, spoke of his
and the team's excitement ahead of the match and how the side will approach the
"We are excited," Mahatlane
began. "The boys have worked hard, put in a lot of effort and we are looking forward
to the opening game of the World Cup.
"We've played Afghanistan
twice at the beginning of last year, we've seen them around and they are an
interesting team. They've got six spinners and five seamers, so it'll be
interesting to see what mixture they put out there tomorrow.
"From our side, it is about
looking after our processes, if we do that right and our disciplines are in a
good space, then I believe we’ll pull through," the coach continued.
Although the South African
side's recent results haven't been a true reflection of their performances,
Mahatlane and his charges can take confidence from their last two encounters
against Friday's opponents.
The SA U19s defeated the sub-continent outfit by
nine runs and 55 runs respectively, during a Youth One-Day International
quadrangular series in Thiruvananthapuram, India.
Playing in a home World Cup
is a special moment for any cricketer, particularly as a youngster looking to
make a name for yourself on the biggest stage, but it also comes with its
pressures and challenges.
"The pressure is a
privilege," Mahatlane said. "The fact that you are sitting here, means that
somebody has recognised that you have the ability to handle the pressure. There
are many young men that are not here, that wish they were here.
"For me, it's about them
expressing themselves and showing off the talents that they were given and
being at home, is a very exciting thing," he added.
The 15-man squad, led by
captain, Bryce Parsons, will be looking to follow in the footsteps of those who
came before them, particularly the victorious class of 2014 who picked up the
country's maiden World Cup triumph.
To be successful, the young
men will be counting on their fellow South Africans for support as they
represent the rainbow nation, on home soil, against the rest of the world.
Skipper Parsons' message to
the South African public is for them to come out in their numbers and back
these future stars during this pivotal chapter of their careers. He said: "Just
come out and support the boys, we've worked really hard for this day.
"We are going to expect a
crowd and hopefully show you guys what we can do, be the best we can be and put
on a show."
Along with Afghanistan, the Junior Proteas will
also host Canada at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom, before rounding off
their Group D matches with a clash against the United Arab Emirates at the
SA under-19s ICC U19
Cricket World Cup 2020 squad:
Bryce Parsons (Central
Gauteng, capt), Khanya Cotani (North West, vice-capt), Luke Beaufort (Eastern
Province), Jonathan Bird (Western Province), Merrick Brett (Northerns), Achille
Cloete (Boland), Gerald Coetzee (Free State), Tyrese Karelse (South Western
Districts), Mondli Khumalo (KwaZulu-Natal), Jack Lees (Central Gauteng), Andrew
Louw (Northern Cape), Levert Manje (Central Gauteng), Odirile Modimokoane
(North West), Pheko Moletsane (Free State), Tiaan van Vuuren (Eastern
SA under-19s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup fixtures:
January 17 - South Africa v Afghanistan at Diamond Oval
January 22 - South Africa v Canada at JB Marks Oval
January 25 - South Africa v UAE at Mangaung Oval
- Cricket South Africa