JOHANNESBURG – The Titans wasted little time indicating the seriousness with which they regard Wandile Makwetu, by offering the 19-year-old a senior contract for the next season.
Makwetu was one of the stars for the SA Under-19 team who got to the quarter-finals of the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year. The wicket-keeper batsman, a graduate of St Stithians College was named in the team of the tournament and is widely regarded as one of the country’s leading young talents, both with bat and behind the stumps.
The Titans recognised that, snapping him up from under the noses of their neighbours, the Highveld Lions, helping him join the very successful Pretoria University club team - and the granting of a professional contract further underlines the franchise’s recognition of his talent.
Makwetu will need to work hard, however, to crack open a spot in the starting team in Centurion, which again looks very strong on paper.
Heinrich Klaasen, Rivaldo Moonsamy and even Heino Kuhn are all excellent ‘glovemen’, and in the case of Klaasen, particularly now that AB de Villiers has retired from international cricket, he may have may get more opportunities with the Proteas next summer.
Makwetu will have access to plenty of experience in the Titans dressing-room. Besides head coach Mark Boucher, Farhaan Behardien, Kuhn, Henry Davids and Albie Morkel are all decorated veterans who will be ready to share expertise with the youngster.
“Wandile is an exciting prospect for the franchise. Watching him perform on the big stage in the Under-19 World Cup proves he can handle pressure situations. He has a lot of talent and we will aiming to nurture that talent this season,” said Boucher.
Following the departure of Malusi Siboto to the Lions, the Titans have signed Tshepo Moreki from the Cape Cobras to replenish their seam bowling stocks.
Meanwhile, the franchise said it was still in negotiations with De Villiers over how much he would be playing for the Titans next summer. De Villiers, who announced his international retirement last week, said he had no plans to play overseas, but hoped to “be available for the Titans in domestic cricket.”
The Titans 2018/19 squad is:
Andrea Agathangelou, Farhaan Behardien, Corbin Bosch, Junior Dala, Henry Davids, Theunis de Bruyn, Tony de Zorzi, Eldred Hawken, Heinrich Klaasen, Heino Kuhn , Wandile Makwetu, Tshepo Moreki, Rivaldo Moonsamy, Albie Morkel, Alfred Mothoa, Grant Thomson, Jonathan Vandiar, Shaun von Berg
CSA contracted players:
Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn