The next generation of South African cricketers will take to the field in Kingston, Jamaica later this afternoon, continuing preparations for the upcoming ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup.

The young Proteas are currently fixed in battle against hosts, the West Indies, and have done a spectacular job thus far. Many of the players in the group took their first steps out of South Africa on this tour. Luckily they seemed to have quickly adapted to the conditions, with the South Africans are on the verge of clinching the series. This makes the fourth and final encounter far from a dead rubber, as the hosts can still level the series.

The past three games have all been low scoring affairs. The last – on Thursday (30 Dec) – going down to the wire. The South Africans limped to the target of 106, winning by just one wicket. That will be an area they will have to focus on, as their World Cup campaign could come to a premature end.

Experience is key

Still, valuable lessons have been learned. That is why this pre-World Cup your is indispensable. One of the most experienced players in the SA Under-19 set-up is all-rounder Micael Copeland. He made his debut in 2019 and played seven Youth ODI matches for the green and gold. The 19-year old confirmed that the experience gained from this trip could take the squad to new heights.

“The tour to the West Indies has been a vital component to our preparations going into the World Cup,” Copeland stated.

“As a team, we’ve gained tons of experience playing in the conditions we have been exposed to and have learnt to be patient on and off the field. Things may not always fall into place when we need them to. But that is uncontrollable, and we have remained focused on what we can control,

“A series-win for us will really set us in good pace going into the World Cup. In saying that, the West Indies team have put up a great fight up to now. That has allowed us to learn some vital lessons along the way. We’ve realised the game is more mentally connected than we think,” he added.

The stage is set to launch careers

Mammoth efforts will still be required – not just to get a solid result for the team – but also individually. The tournament offers a major platform for upcoming talent. Two players who can attest to that is Kagiso Rabada and Aiden Markram. The pair was part of the group that won the event in 2014 and have since become regulars in the senior setup.

The fourth and final Youth One-Day International gets underway at 15h00 (SA Time).