I am now really looking forward to the start of the ICC U19 World Cricket Championship – and I have a good idea of which players to watch out for during the tournament.
There are a few young players who have been doing very well lately.
I think South Africa has some exciting young players – many of them have done very well and are ready to represent the country on the big stage.
Jonathan Bird is definitely one of the greatest young players in South Africa. He grew up in a very good school and has performed well in recent years.
There’s also Gerald Coetzee, who is a good all-rounder – he recently worked on franchise cricket for Jozi Stars, which really helped him and was part of the national setup.
Khanya Cotani is another young man who is doing very well and he is obviously the South Africa vice-captain – he is the type of player I am really looking forward to.
As a host, South Africa does not want to be able to be beaten in the group stage or reach the quarter-finals and be beaten. If they can do well and reach the final, it will make a big difference for these youngsters.
In relation to other nations, I watched the Indian team training and looked at how good these young people are and how well they are doing. It’s almost like they are already in the tournament and their tournament mentality has already started.
It was one of the greatest things about how these youngsters trained and put together – they played the game so well and it was almost as if I were watching the Indian national team look very chic.
I think the thing with the entire Indian squad is that they were already part of the Indian system – they have certain players like Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ravi Bishnoi, Kartik Tyagi and Akash Singh who will be participating in the IPL. They have already been prepared to portray India as a nation as they get older.
Pakistan also has a lot of exciting players and I’m curious to see how Rohail Nazir is doing with the bat.
As the captain of his country, there will be some pressure on his shoulders, but at 18 he has already proven to be a very strong player and also a leader both on the field and with the bat.
Rohail has already played top-class cricket and List A and was in good shape at the end of 2019. So it will be exciting to see how he beats some world-class bowlers.
England will also be an exciting team and many of their players already have a lot of experience in the national game.
Ben Charlesworth is one of them, who was introduced to the first XI at the age of 17. His experience with big matches will prove to be so important for players and teams.
He helped Gloucestershire win the promotion in England so he knows what it takes to win, and his hitting is also aided by a bit of bowling, which could prove useful over the course of the tournament.
Jordan Cox is a batsman who played with and against some of the best players in the world in the English T20 competition and learned so much just because he was in the same place.
Cox is also in good shape, scoring a big goal against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh last year. He should, therefore, travel to South Africa with confidence – he is playing against players he has previously faced and he has shown that he can. It’s just about transferring your talent to the big stage.
This is the challenge for all players in the coming weeks. They have shown that they can, otherwise, they would not be in their squad, but now it is a matter of converting their talent into temperament under pressure.