Friday, 06 December 2019

Girls cricket is set to take the city of Nelspruit in Mpumalanga by storm when all provincial teams convene for the Cricket South Africa (CSA) Girls under-19 Week, taking place between 08 – 12 December.

The Girls U19 Week will feature the leading cricketers from all corners of the country, with 16 provincial teams, including hosts Mpumalanga taking part in the highly anticipated tournament, hosted at Uplands College.

The national interprovincial tournament forms an important part of CSA’s development pipeline and plays a key role in the identification of outstanding talents. This is to grow the women’s game and produce players for the South Africa U19 Girls side, particularly in the context of the upcoming 2021 ICC U19 Girls Cricket World Cup.

“This is a very exciting time for girls and women’s cricket in South Africa,” commented CSA Cricket Services Manager, Edward Khoza. “We are in the process of conducting interviews to appoint a U19 Girls and Women’s Academy coach. This coach will be tasked with ensuring the preparation and identification of these players moving forward, along with the selectors.

“This is a massive opportunity for girls cricket and us, as Cricket South Africa, having an opportunity to have a team in 2021 playing on the world stage at the World Cup will boost the whole image of girls cricket in the country,” Khoza added.

“We started appointing provincial coaches about two and a half years ago and we saw an improvement with the players, regarding the interventions they were making, and a tournament like this allows us a further opportunity to track the progress they’ve made and the players they’ve identified.

“I want to wish the young ladies taking part during the Week, all the best and hope they can emulate and follow in the footsteps of those who came before them,” he concluded.

Over the four action-packed days of cricket, the youngsters face each other in T20 and 50-over cricket before the regional and national selectors pick a combined SA Schools team that will take on the selected SA Fillies side to round off the Week.

Last year’s Player of the Tournament and current Proteas Women all-rounder, Nadine de Klerk, shared her experience of playing in the Girls U19 Week, having taken part in the last six editions and the importance of the tournament

“I started playing Girls U19 Week at the age of 13 and obviously, it’s a good competition. When I started, I played against and with the likes of Sune Luus, Lara Goodall, Laura Wolvaardt and all those players, so that helped me a lot because I competed against players who became some of the best in the world,” De Klerk said.

“That helped me to grow as a player and especially for the girls now, the healthy competition that exists and the U19 World Cup coming up, the tournament will get the best out of the players and the only way you can grow is through the more cricket you play.

“All I want to say is that the Girls U19 Week is a lot of fun. They must have fun, enjoy it and have the best time of their lives. It’s a stage of their careers where you can fully enjoy being out there without any pressures and it only takes one good tournament for the selectors to see you. My career started at the U19s and if they give a 100 % and do well, it will open a lot of doors,” she added.

Live scores for the Girls U19 Week can be located on www.webcsports.co.za, with match updates and match reports available on Cricket South Africa’s official Facebook (www.facebook.com/CricketSouthAfrica) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/OfficialCSA) pages.