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CSA National u19 camp offers selectors final chance to assess players

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South Africa Under-19 coach Shukri Conrad has lauded the outcomes achieved at their latest national training camp that was held at the Cricket South Africa (CSA) High-Performance Centre in Tshwane last week.

A total of 27 players participated in the 26-30 April camp, which also served as trials ahead of upcoming tours and next year’s ICC U19 World Cup in West Indies.

The bulk of the players were part of the Senior Provincial Men’s Programme held in Kimberley earlier this year, with others from an extended group that the coaching staff had identified to continuously work with at the various Talent Acceleration Programme (TAP) camps.

“Because there is so much work that still needs to be done with the players, we felt we needed to get together so that we could have an idea of what our preliminary World Cup squad, if I can call it that, will look like,” Conrad explained. “We obviously continuously working on their skill sets and that is what we spent the first couple of days doing before we played two matches.

“During those matches we had the probable’s, which is the squad that was in Kimberley, play against the rest of the squad and it was great to see the intensity the kids brought because they obviously knew the boys that played in Kimberley had a slight advantage. So on that front it was hugely successful.”

U19 assistant coach Thabang Kumalo, HP batting lead Neil McKenzie, U19 bowling coach Rory Kleinveldt and fielding consultant Kruger Van Wyk were all part of the week, helping the national coach put the players through their paces.

Conrad says that there is nothing more valuable than spending time together as a group.

“Whenever we have a camp we start seeing the character of the players,” he stated. “We all get to interact with each other. We work in an environment where everyone is free to express themselves, both as people and as players.”

Some of the players that stood out during the two games were batsmen Nick Hatton (66 and 54), Zack Momberg (97* and 27), Rueben du Toit (50), Ethan Cunningham (76), Kaden Solomons (62) and GJ Maree (51). The highlights amongst the bowlers were Asakhe Tsaka’s five for 21, together with three-fors for Andile Simelane (3-54) and Matthew Boast (3-50)

“This week will certainly help when we plan for tours later in the year and with the World Cup in mind during early January,” Conrad added.

“We have a tour scheduled for August and now it’s about announcing that squad so that we can really then start honing in on refining their skill set as individuals, trying to work on their role definitions, working on game plans and all those sort of things. I’ll then to engage with their coaches around the country and the work starts in earnest.”

The national selectors, under the leadership of convenor Patrick Moroney, were also present to select the team for the next playing engagement in July. That team is due to be announced in the next two weeks.