SA U19s must put David Teeger debacle behind them ahead of World Cup opener

New South Africa U19 captain Juan James poses with his West Indian counterpart ahead of their ICC U19 Men’s World Cup clash.

New South Africa U19 captain Juan James poses with his West Indian counterpart ahead of their ICC U19 Men’s World Cup clash.

Published Jan 19, 2024


“Keep it simple. Stick to the basics!”

That’s the message Proteas fast bowler Anrich Nortje has delivered to the SA U19 team as they embark on their ICC U19 Men’s World Cup journey, starting today against the West Indies in Potchefstroom.

It has been a strenuous build-up to the tournament for the youngsters, particularly off-field in relation to their former captain David Teeger, but they can now finally begin to focus on easily the biggest tournament of their fledgling careers.

Nortje, who is the tournament’s ambassador, shared his wisdom of 144 internationals for the Proteas, with the young group.

“I am sure they are really excited to get going and showcase all their talent. My only message to them is keep it basic,” Nortje said.

“It is obviously a great opportunity for the youngsters. They are the future. Each country is of course going to try and get their hands on them after this.

“Hopefully, they can take in as much as possible. Be as cool, calm and collective. They have done all the hard work. This is just an opportunity to showcase their talent.

“There is always going to be the first ball you bowl, the first ball you face, and there is going to be a lot of advice.

“It's almost a case of switching off from everything. And not be concerned with what people are saying on social media. Focus on what you have to do. Stick to the basics.”

South Africa’s preparation leading up to the ICC U19 World Cup has not been smooth on the field either. In a recent tri-series with India and Afghanistan, coach Malibongwe Maketa’s charges lost both matches against the juggernaut Indian side and one to Afghanistan.

They did, however, manage to recover to defeat Afghanistan in the second clash which saw them qualify for the triangular final against India, which was abandoned due to rain.

Furthermore, both official warm-up matches against Pakistan and Afghanistan were marred by weather, although there was enough time for star opening bowler Kwena Mphaka to get amongst the wickets.

Mphaka has already played first-class cricket for South Africa “A” on last year’s senior tour of Sri Lanka.

New SA U19 captain Juan James claims his team just wants the tournament to get underway already.

“Obviously there is a bit of nerves and excitement, but we are all ready to go and get started,” James said.

The Western Province all-rounder, who attended Wynberg Boys High School in Cape Town, is relishing the opportunity of leading the Junior Proteas after taking over from Teeger.

“It is a great honour and 
privilege to be selected as captain, 
especially in a home World Cup where you have your family and friends that can come and watch you.

“Ever since I was a kid, I always dreamt of donning the green-and-gold shirt, and now it’s a reality. I’m up for the challenge and I know that there is a lot of responsibility that comes with it, but I’m ready to go.

“Jacques Kallis went to the same school as me and is arguably the greatest all-rounder, and I am fairly relaxed and chilled and try to include everyone.

“We never give up in tough situations, and we show resilience and push through,” he added.