Malibongwe Maketa counting on experience ahead of U19 Cricket World Cup

Malibongwe Maketa counting on experience ahead of U19 Cricket World Cup

South Africa’s Under-19 cricket coach Malibongwe Maketa believes the exposure gained during their recent Bangladesh tour could help secure victory in the upcoming ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup on home turf.

The World Cup is scheduled for South Africa from January 19 to February 11, with Bloemfontein, Potchefstroom, Kimberley and East London set to host the group fixtures, before Benoni replaces Potch in the knockout phase. 

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Maketa believes insights and skills acquired during the sub-continent tour will prove advantageous for his team, especially in familiar home conditions.

"[Playing in Bangladesh] was a great experience, especially how we want to guide our young teams as Cricket South Africa, exposing them to subcontinent conditions from an early age so that we can see where the skills gap is and try and close them," said Maketa.

"So, from that point of view, we were really lucky to have that opportunity, and now having to realign and readjust to our conditions, it does not take that much [effort or time] because most of our players are from the [highveld] conditions."

Cricket South Africa unveiled a 15-member squad for the 15th edition of the junior World Cup, with Maketa shedding light on some of the alterations made from the Bangladesh tour.

"The balance of the squad in the preliminary round was mainly set up in terms of performing in the subcontinent conditions, so a few young spinners have been disappointed at being left out because we're back into home conditions," he explained.

"We don't need three spinners, we don't need a reserve out-and-out [wicket-]keeper, so now we are in a space where we need an extra fast bowler, and we can lengthen our batting line-up by having one of our premium batters taking the gloves.

"So, from that point of view, it just needs a little bit of tweaking in terms of how we're going to maximise the squad – we could not really chuck everyone away and start again, we needed to keep faith in what we have because we believe we've looked at all the aspects.

"We just needed to tweak and leave out, unfortunately, the players that we had earmarked to do well in the subcontinent conditions." 

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