Rivash Gobind broke new ground on Thursday when he became the first Indian since cricket unity to be named captain of a South African representative team.

The 18-year-old former Effingham Secondary student was named captain of the South African under-19 squad to tour New Zealand between January 20-February 20 next year.

"I was thrilled when I was called up on Wednesday evening by the selectors," Gobind said.

"It's been a dream of mine to lead a South African team. And it's come true at the right moment."

Gobind has been a very promising young player in KwaZulu-Natal and is one of five players from the province to have been chosen for the side's tour to the Antipodes.

The other four are Hashim Amla, who is being tipped for bigger things, Warren Hauptfleisch, the son of former Durban City defender Mervyn, James Schorn, who was the Natal Schools vice-captain at the Coca-Cola Week, and Imran Khan, one of the bright young prospects who could be offered a senior Natal contract by the NCU in the New Year.

Purely on merit

Ali Bacher, outgoing managing director of the United Cricket Board, hailed the appointment of Gobind as the national under-19 captain and also praised the selectors for picking three Indians in the travelling squad.

He said from Johannesburg on Thursday: "I had a chat with Hugh Page, convener of the selectors, who assured me that the selection was done purely on merit.

"I was assured that there was no tokenism or the fact that the selectors picked them because they came through the development programme.

"This to me is great news for South African cricket.

"Indians have felt marginalised in the past and the fact that the likes of Amla, Gobind and Khan have come through bears testimony that there are talented

cricketers within that community.

"We can look forward to exciting times - these youngsters could show the way for the others aspiring to get to the top."

Amla, whose elder brother Ahmed plays for Natal A in the SuperSport and Standard Bank Cup, is a DHS product.

Many believe he will be the first from his community to break into the big time.

Cassim Docrat, chief executive of the NCU, hailed the selection of the five youngsters as "the best thing for Natal cricket".

"I couldn't believe it when I was told of their selection," he said.

"I was confident that Hashim would make it, because he has been a consistent performer in all forms of cricket this season.

"But to get five youngsters in the national under-19 side is a boost for the province."

It is understood that NCU will offer contracts to four of the players - Schorn has decided to head for Bloemfontein to further his academic career and will join the Free State Cricket Union.

Squads

  • South Africa under-19: Ravish Gobind (KZN, capt), Hashim Amla (KZN), Chad Baxter (EP), Johan Botha (EP), Stephen Cook (Gauteng), Gerhard de Bruin (Gauteng), Warren Hauptfleisch (KZN), Zwelibanzi Homani (EP), Christo Karemaker (Gauteng North), Imran Khan (KZN), Ian Postman (Border), Michael Price (EP), James Schorn (KZN), Craig Thysen (EP), Monde Zondeki (Border). Manager: Peter Habberton. Coach: Hilton Ackerman. Asst coach: Lawrence Mahaflane.

  • SA Schools XI: Johan Botha (EP), Hashim Amla (KZN), Chad Baxter (EP), Stephen Cook (Gauteng), Gerhard de Bruyn (Gauteng), Lazola Dipha (EP), Jean-Paul Duminy (Plumstead), Zwelibanzi Homani (EP), Christo Karemaker (Gauteng North), Ian Postman (Border), James Schorn (KZN), Craig Thysen (EP). Manager: Saaie Magiet (WP).

  • SA Colts XI: Graeme Marais (Gauteng), AB de Villiers (Gauteng North), Pieter Ferreira (Ussasa Platteland), William Hantam (Ussasa), Davey Jacobs (NWP), Imran Khan (KZN), Brent Kopps (EP), Donavon Lentz (Border), Abner Letsie (Gauteng North), Dominique Ridley (WP), Shipho Sidande (FS), Johannes Wolmarans (NWP). Manager: Fabien Gregory (Border).