Cape Town - The South Africa under-19s are looking forward to testing themselves against current world champions, India.
The two sides will take each other on in a Youth Test and Youth Quadrangular One-Day International series from February 16-March 12 in Trivandrum, Kerala.
The squad of 15 depart for the sub-continent on Friday following a demanding five-day, pre-tour camp at the Powerade Centre of Excellence, which included a two-day warm-up match against the Northerns senior provincial team.
Ahead of the first Youth Test to be played at St Xavier's College Ground, SA U19s head coach, Lawrence Mahatlane believes a series against India will provide the ideal platform for exposure for his side and can play a role in the identifying process for future stars.
"Our core business as the SA U19s is to give young men experience and hopefully identify future Proteas," said Mahatlane. "I think a tour to India, who are world champions, is something important in order to expose these youngsters to a good tour, a good cricket culture, tough opposition and four-day cricket," he said.
The aspiring Proteas will take on India U19s, India U19sB and the Afghanistan U19s in a round-robin contest which will decide the final and third/fourth play-off matches to take place on Monday, March 11.
With India being the current ICC U19 Cricket World Cup holders following their triumph in 2018, Mahatlane hopes this upcoming Youth ODI series will provide the building blocks going into the 2020 World Cup that will be hosted in South Africa.
"There's no other better place to build character and to show what kind of attitude our young men have than touring the subcontinent," he stated. "With tours like these, there's no better learning experience. You can practice as hard as you want but experiencing it for the first time and knowing that more than half the countries that play in the ICC, play in the sub-continent, will be invaluable.
"If you are going to make a dent on the game of cricket and become known, you will have to cope with these and it's better to experience them young and hopefully these young men will show the character we believe they have," he concluded.
"We wish our players everything of the best as they start their journey to live their cricketing dreams," commented CSA Chief Executive Thabang Moroe.
"Touring India is both a challenging and enriching experience and it is important that our young cricketers get as much as they can out of this tour both on and off the field.
"This tour marks the start of our preparation for next year's ICC under-19 World Cup which we will be hosting. We have a proud record in this tournament, having won it in 2014 and reached the final on several other occasions.
"Our winning team of 2014 included current Proteas in Kagiso Rabada, Aiden Markram and Andile Phehlukwayo and this should provide the inspiration for the current class to excel," concluded Moroe.
South Africa under-19s squad:
Matthew Montgomery (captain, Dolphins), Luke Beaufort (Warriors), Jonathan Bird (Cape Cobras), Achille Cloete (Cape Cobras), Gerald Coetzee (Knights), Marco Jansen (Highveld Lions), Thamsanqa Khumalo (Dolphins), Bonga Makaka (Cape Cobras), Andile Mogakane (Dolphins), Kgaudise Molefe (Highveld Lions), Lifa Ntanzi (Dolphins), Bryce Parsons (Highveld Lions), Siya Plaatjie (Cape Cobras), Ruan Terblanche (Cape Cobras), Nonelela Yikha (Warriors)