Cape Town - The South Africa Emerging team begin a One-Day Tri-Series on Saturday when they face their counterparts from Sri Lanka at the Groenkloof Oval in Pretoria.
The June 29 to July 14 competition, which also includes a University Sports South Africa (USSA) squad, is a massive opportunity for some of the country’s best young cricketers to stake their claim for higher honours, according to coach Shukri Conrad.
With the senior national team having endured a disappointing World Cup in England, the man in charge of the SA Emerging team believes that his young squad have everything to play for in the coming two weeks.
"I think it’s a great time being a young cricketer in South Africa," Conrad said. "Amidst all the doom and gloom that’s currently prevalent, there’s no better time to showcase the potential that’s waiting in the wings.
"And that’s pretty much what my message has been to these youngsters. They have an opportunity to put their names out there. This is a massive tournament in a lot of young careers in terms of their development.
"I expect a lot of these young cricketers currently in this group to go on in the next few months and make names for themselves in South Africa ‘A’ squads and at franchise level, so in a nutshell, it’s a wonderful opportunity for each and every one of these players to showcase who they are."
The SA Emerging squad is made up of players from the CSA Powerade National Academy, which is a programme running on a three-year cycle, aimed at the successful transition of players from senior provincial cricket into professional and international cricket.
The current group have been together for just over a week and Conrad says they are raring to go.
"We’ve been together since last Tuesday preparing specifically for this tour," he explained. "It’s been quite a long season, so we gave the guys a bit of a break and we’re now looking forward to it."
The emerging side will take on their sub-continent counterparts as well as the USSA team in the extended triangular series, before playing the Asian side in two four-day matches from July 18-28.
"We’re going to be up against a very good Sri Lanka team," Conrad added. "They have guys who have played international cricket before, so it will be a big test."
But the SA Emerging coach reiterated the importance of coming out on top in the next few weeks.
He concluded: "I’d hate to say it’s not only about winning this series. Obviously, we want to win and develop at the same time, I believe the two can co-exist, so it’s not a case of we just want to develop.
"Winning is massive for us, more so given the other developments in the game around us in recent weeks, so we want to give cricket in South Africa hope with a strong performance in the series."
SA Emerging squad:
Tony de Zorzi (Titans), Janneman Malan (Cape Cobras), Raynard van Tonder (Knights), Matthew Breetzke (Warriors), Wandile Makwetu (Titans), Sinethemba Qeshile (Warriors), Sibonelo Makhanya (Dolphins), Eathan Bosch (Dolphins), Tshepang Dithole (Highveld Lions), Tladi Bokako (Cape Cobras), Nandre Burger (Cape Cobras), Kyle Simmonds (Cape Cobras), Lutho Sipamla (Warriors), Bjorn Fortuin (Highveld Lions), Jason Smith (Cape Cobras), Dayyaan Galiem (Titans).