Two young KwaZulu-Natal cricketers, Andile Mokgakane and Fraser Jones, have being selected for the South African Under-19 side that was announced to take on current Under-19 World Champion West Indies in July.
The team, will take on the Caribbean side in a five-match Youth One-Day International series from 9-19 July in Pietermaritzburg and Durban with the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand just eight months away.
Mokgakane, who is from Lindelani, was earmarked from the age of 10 years-old as a player to watch and was introduced to the Township Cricket Programme. He was then elevated to the Elite Township Squad and was then offered a spot at Northwood through the Sunfoil Bursary Fund.
Director of cricket at Northwood, Andrew Shedlock, was full of praise for Mokgakane following his hard work and dedication to cricket since his arrival at the Durban-north school.
“It is great to see a player like Andile go onto higher honours,” Shedlock mentioned.
“He is one of the success stories of the Township Development initiative after he was scouted and brought to Northwood three years ago.
“We always knew that he had the talent. We just wanted to provide an environment where he could grow as a player and as a scholar – it is such a great story to see him achieve what he has.”
The top-order batsman and seamer has also been playing club cricket at Hollywoodbets Crusaders and was one of the stand-out players for the Castle Premier League champions at the recent Momentum Club Championships in Pretoria.
“Crusaders have been really good to him, helping financially as well as offering him a place to play club cricket.
“Andile was one of the better players in their side at Club Champs and it can only be good for his cricket to be learning from some experienced players,” Shedlock added.
The other young KwaZulu-Natal based star to be selected for the SA Under-19 squad is Michaelhouse schoolboy Fraser Jones who has impressed with the ball, but has shown his worth with the bat for school, KwaZulu-Natal Inland and the South African Under-17 Invitational side recently.
Surprisingly, Jones is only going into his Under-17 age group this year and will be eligible for another year of provincial cricket in this age category before moving on to the Under-19 age division.
“He was definitely one of our most important players at the national Under-17 week last year,” mentioned Quintie Naude, Jones’ KZN Inland Under-17 coach last year.
“His ability to bowl up front, bat in the middle order and field brilliantly meant that he was invaluable to our side and his ability to handle pressure situations was also a stand-out feature of his game.
The two players will join the national Under-19 squad in Durban on 28 June with the first of the five Youth One-day Internationals taking place on 9 July at the Chatsworth Oval.