Exciting young Sunfoil Dolphins talents Andile Phehlukwayo, Sibonelo Makhanya and Tshepang Dithole recently joined their fellow 2016 Powerade South African National Academy members at the Centre of Excellence in Pretoria and are already hard at work, eager to take their game to the next level this winter.
Just 20, 20 and 23 years old respectively, the three stars of the future have already started to make their marks at both Provincial and Franchise level domestically but are eager to use this opportunity to further their careers and ultimately go on to represent their country at senior level.
“The National Academy is a really nice process to go through for us as players making our way from semi-pro to full professional level,” explained former South Africa U19 captain, Makhanya.
“Being part of the National Academy is a great opportunity and a step you need to take if you want to get to the next level!
“There are great coaches here at the Academy and amazing facilities at the High Performance Centre; I can’t think of any better place to be as we all look to grow as cricketers,” he added.
Phehlukwayo cemented his position in the Dolphins line-up this past season through his abilities across all three formats, proving his worth with the ball in particularly when often tasked with delivering the high-pressured final overs throughout the 2015/16 RAM Slam T20 Challenge.
While naturally athletic in the field and a hard-hitting lower order batsman, Phehlukwayo is eager to work hard on both his batting and fitness this winter as he looks to heighten his status as a genuine all-rounder.
“One day I hope to play a similar role to what Ben Stokes currently does for England – bat at six or seven and bowl first change, especially in the really important overs such as at the death!
“I’m really excited to have been involved in all three formats at Franchise level so far but I especially enjoy four day cricket and then the challenge of T20.
“I was disappointed with my batting last season and felt I let myself down so I want to work mainly on that during my time at the National Academy, as well as my fitness.”
Dithole and Makhanya echo Phehlukwayo’s batting aspirations for their time in Pretoria with Makhanya eager to absorb as much as he can from the wealth and variety of coaching philosophies the group is set to be exposed to between June and August.
“I’m looking to work as hard as I can over the next few months as I try to establish myself in the Dolphins side this coming season as a batter, primarily, that can also bowl.
“We’re working with Vincent Barnes, Shukri Conrad and Andre Nel at the moment with guys like Ashwell Price, Stephen Cook – when he’s available – and HD Ackerman also set to join us at times – who are all great people to work with.
“The diversity within our group of players, who, having come from various different backgrounds, each bring their own styles to the mix, is also great as it gives us a chance to learn from one another as well,” said Makhanya.
The four-phase men’s programme culminates in a series against the Sri Lankan Emerging Team in the second half of August.
Momentum Proteas and KZN Women’s stand-out Chloe Tryon will also be busy in Pretoria this winter as she joins her fellow Powerade SA National Academy Women’s Squad members at the same facility under the guidance of national women’s coach, Hilton Moreeng.