’We’re going there to win,’ says SA U19 coach Shukri Conrad ahead of World Cup
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Cape Town – South Africa U-19 coach Shukri Conrad is hoping his team have “the courage of their convictions” while at the same be able to “adapt to the conditions” in the West Indies.
The junior Proteas are set to depart for the Caribbean within a fortnight where they are due to contest a bilateral series with their hosts ahead of the ICC U-19 World Cup in the same region early next year.
Conrad’s team have a testing World Cup opener against juggernauts India on January 15 in Guyana before facing fellow Africans Uganda at the Queens’ Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago three days later. Their final Group B match is against Ireland on January 21 against Ireland at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy.
"The World Cup is the priority, but we also have a series against the West Indies that we'd like to win. It is also great preparation for the boys. I would like to see our boys continue the work; we still have a little bit of work to do before we get there and once there, to go out and have the courage to play the way we want to play,” Conrad said.
The SA U-19s have certainly enjoyed thorough preparation for the trip to the West Indies, having recently been included in Cricket SA’s senior T20 Knockout competition. Although they were unable to win a match, they showed plenty of potential and certainly lots of intent in wanting to play an attacking, positive brand of cricket.
The style certainly suited gifted individuals like Northerns’ Dewald Brevis and captain George van Heerden, who will be the mainstays of the junior Proteas’ batting line-up in the Caribbean.
Conrad is hoping the lessons learnt in Bloemfontein will be implanted, but under no circumstances does he want his charges to take a backward step.
"I want us to have the courage of our convictions. Have the courage to play the way we have practised, to follow the philosophy that we have set out and, hopefully, we can adapt, depending on what conditions are prevalent in the West Indies, both on the tour and the World Cup,” the former Lions and Cape Cobras coach said.
"Ultimately, I believe if we do that enough, then we will be victorious. We are certainly not going there as a side who wants to just compete, or a side just thrilled to be there, we want to not only give a good account of ourselves but also get into the play-off stages and win tournaments. That's a long way away, but if we follow the building blocks, we will be alright."
Junior Proteas Squad for ICC U-19 World Cup
George van Heerden (capt), Liam Alder, Matthew Boast, Dewald Brevis, Michael Copeland, Ethan Cunningham, Valentine Kitime, Kwena Maphaka, Gerhard Maree, Aphiwe Mnyanda, Andile Simelane, Jade Smith, Kaden Solomons, Joshua Stephenson, Asakhe Tshaka. Travelling reserves: Hardus Coetzer, Ronan Hermann, Caleb Seleka.
Junior Proteas Squad for West Indies bilateral tour
George van Heerden (capt), Liam Alder, Matthew Boast, Dewald Brevis, Michael Copeland, Ethan Cunningham, Valentine Kitime, Kwena Maphaka, Gerhard Maree, Aphiwe Mnyanda, Andile Simelane, Jade Smith, Kaden Solomons, Joshua Stephenson, Asakhe Tshaka.