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South Africa's U19 head coach concedes that his young players learnt some tough lessons

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South Africa Under-19 head coach Shukri Conrad concedes that his young players learnt some tough lessons this past week after they were heavily beaten in their debut first-class outing against Northerns in Kimberley. 

The national juniors, who have been afforded a chance to feature in the Senior Provincial Men’s Programme by Cricket South Africa (CSA) much to the delight of the national coach, suffered a big innings and 83-run loss when their Pool C fixtures began on Tuesday. 

“Things didn’t go as planned for the first three-day game, obviously the first innings was massive,” Conrad said. “To be bowled out for 41 showed how inexperienced we were, that we were schoolboys against men. But there’s lessons to be learnt.  

“The fact that there were elementary mistakes being made, I was comfortable with that.  

“I would rather have something like this now and I kind of expected it to happen because it was a good time to test the character of these kids, so massive learnings on that front. The manner in which we came back in the second innings was really refreshing.  

“We bowled really well with the new ball and again the longer the innings went on the tougher it got for us but late on day two we played particularly well to pick up five or six wickets and that was really heartening. Then we were much better with the bat in the second innings.” 

The U19s will now play each of their three group opponents – Western Province, Northern Cape and Northerns in that order – in three one-day matches from Sunday until Tuesday. They will then complete their 12-day schedule, which is taking place in a bio-secure environment (BSE), with one more red-ball encounter against their hosts next weekend. 

“We really are looking forward to the one-dayers now because this is the format that in the next couple of months is going to be the most important one for us,” Conrad added. “This as we prepare for a tour to the West Indies and then the ICC under-19 Cricket World Cup.  

“So we’re really excited about this. I’ve got a big squad and have to give everyone a go. We also have to set out certain combinations without ruling out anybody. I’ll be very disappointed if we succumb the way we did in the three-day game and, in fact we’re quietly confident we can squeeze one in over one of the big guns. So, we’re really looking forward to it.” 

 SA UNDER 19 SQUAD: Daniel Smith (captain, Western Province), Dewald Brevis (Northerns), Jan Hendrik Coetzer (Northerns), Michael Copeland (Central Gauteng Lions), Jordan Hermann (Northerns), Taheer Isaacs (Central Gauteng Lions), Caleb Seleka (North West), Andile Simelane (KZN Inland), Jade Smith (Eastern Province), Kaden Solomons (Western Province), Joshua Stevenson (Eastern Province), Nathan Steyn (Easterns), Asakhe Tsaka (Western Province), George van Heerden (Eastern Province), Liam Alder (Central Gauteng Lions), Ethan Cunningham (Western Province), Selo (Valentine) Kitime (Northerns), Samuel Ruwisi (Central Gauteng Lions), Nicholas Keevy (Western Province).