EASTERN Province schools cricket captain Lloyd Brown is banking on an experienced outfit to achieve success in the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Week in Durban, starting today.
This annual junior cricket extravaganza will be played over the next five days as 200 of the top under-19 schoolboy cricketers from around the country step into the limelight where talent scouts will be hoping to identify the stars of the future.
Brown, who also captained the team last year, said they had a lot more experience this year.
“Many of the guys have played together during our school careers and I feel we have a lot more experience this year, which will hopefully stand us in good stead.”
Brown said their preparations had been interrupted somewhat by rain, but having played together and against each other, he did not think that would be a problem.
“We know each other pretty well and our preparations have been fine,” he said. While the U19 World Cup beckons for many aspiring young cricketers next year, Brown said most players would initially be focused on trying to make their U19 franchise teams for the annual Cubs Week in January.
“From there the players will be identified for the World Cup so that [the Cubs Week] will be a big priority,” Brown said.
There will be a sense of continuity in the EP side because five St Andrew’s players and two from Grey High are included.
Brown will lead a batting lineup which includes talented players such as Andrew Rushmere, Mbulelo Mama, Bradley Bopp, Brydon Carse and Murray Leith.
In the bowling stakes, St Andrew’s rugby star Sintu Manjezi will be a key performer, while the leftarm spin of Grant Stretton should prove useful.
The team will be coached by former EP captain Carl Bradfield.
Kearsney College in Botha’s Hill will be the central hub for the week, with matches played there, on surrounding fields and in Durban, including the Kingsmead Oval.
At the end of the week a South African Schools and a South African Schools Colts team will be announced, and they will play against Dolphins teams on Saturday.
There are no official overall winners at the Khaya Majola Week, but the two teams who consistently play the best cricket throughout the week will meet on the main field on the final day, and the winners of that game take home the trophy.
The EP squad: Andrew Rushmere (St Andrew’s), Mbulelo Mama (St Andrew’s), Brydon Carse (Pearson), Lloyd Brown (Grey High, captain), Lylle Peterson (Muir), Bradley Bopp (Grey High), Murray Leith (St Andrew’s), Ntabozuko Nqam (Motherwell), Odwa Xonxa (Graeme), Grant Stretton (St Andrew’s), Stefan Tait (Framesby), Sintu Manjezi (St Andrew’s).