Cape Town — Bryce Parsons has been appointed as the captain of the South Africa under-19s ahead of their home tour against Pakistan after several standout performances in his first tour against India earlier this year.
The impressive all-rounder will lead a squad of 15 in a seven-match Youth One-Day International (ODI) series taking place in Pietermaritzburg and Chatsworth between June 22 and July 7.
The 18-year old made his SA U19s debut in the first Youth Test match in the team's tour to India in February before going on to feature in the second Test. He subsequently earned four more caps in South Africa's third-place finish during the quadrangular Youth ODI series that included India U19 'A', 'B' and Afghanistan.
Despite being one of only three players who played every match in the tour of the subcontinent, Parsons expressed his surprise at the appointment but is already looking forward to the series and helping his side achieve its targets.
"It's obviously a massive privilege to captain my country in this upcoming tour against Pakistan," the youngster said.
"I am pretty shocked to be captain because I didn't think I'd get it but I am grateful for this opportunity that has come to hand. I am just going to try lead from the front and set a good example for the team, try to add to the team culture and help everyone get ready for the games.
"As a team, we really want to win the series, to bounce back from what happened in India. Personally, I just want to lead well. It's going to be my first tour as captain, so I want to do well and hopefully win the series."
In India, Parsons shone thanks to his all-round ability with bat and ball. He scored 239 runs, including two half-centuries and a six-wicket haul (6/77) in the longer format before adding a further seven wickets to his tally in the Youth ODI matches at an average of 18.42.
The King Edwards VII School matriculant and First XI skipper is relishing the added responsibility that captaincy will bring and is focused on leading through his performances to inspire his team-mates.
"Most players love the extra challenges in the game, and I am no different," Parsons added. "I just want to take this challenge (of captaincy) in my stride and lead from the front with the players. If you are doing well as a captain, the whole team will have confidence. I just have to focus on doing what I do best and then try and lead the team."
With the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 on the forefront of the team's preparations, Parsons believes that a tight team spirit will do well for team's chances in the upcoming series against Pakistan.
"It's really important to for the coaching staff and myself that we stick together as a team, in good times and in bad, that's most important," he explained.
"If everyone is there for each other with no individuals or players playing for themselves, we'll all pull through and do enough to get selected for this team and represent it well. We have a lot of experienced guys who've gone to India and have seen the challenges that lie ahead."
SA U19s head coach, Lawrence Mahatlane shared his thoughts on the appointment of Parsons, saying:
"Bryce is a very special player. He was the U17 Cricketer of the Year in 2017 and the Khaya Majola Week Cricketer of the Year last year as a grade 11 pupil, so his cricket pedigree is very good. He was also outstanding in India. So, as a leader, this is an opportunity for him to keep standing up and showing his leadership qualities.
"He's also captained his school side this year and various age-group sides over the years. It will be good to watch how he captains the SA U19s and I am quite excited to watching him share the way he thinks about the game, with the whole squad."
South Africa U19s squad:
Bryce Parsons (captain, Gauteng), Luke Beaufort (Eastern Province), Jonathan Bird (Western Province), Achille Cloete (Boland), Gerald Coetzee (Free State), Khanya Cotani (North West), Michael Copeland (Gauteng), Andrew Louw (Free State), Akeem Minaar (Boland), Lifa Ntanzi (KZN Coastal), Imraan Philander (Western Province), Siya Plaatjie (Western Province), Ruan Terblanche (Boland), Tiaan van Vuuren (Eastern Province), Nonelela Yika (Border)
June 19, Warm Up Match - KZN Academy v Pakistan U19 at Varsity Oval, Durban
June 22, 1st Youth ODI - South Africa U19 v Pakistan U19 at Chatsworth Cricket Oval, Durban
June 25, 2nd Youth ODI - South Africa U19 v Pakistan U19 at Pietermaritzburg Oval, Pietermaritzburg
June 27, 3rd Youth ODI - South Africa U19 v Pakistan U19 at Pietermaritzburg Oval, Pietermaritzburg
June 30, 4th Youth ODI - South Africa U19 v Pakistan U19 at Pietermaritzburg Oval, Pietermaritzburg
July 2, 5th Youth ODI - South Africa U19 v Pakistan U19 at Pietermaritzburg Oval, Pietermaritzburg
July 5, 6th Youth ODI - South Africa U19 v Pakistan U19 at Chatsworth Cricket Oval, Durban
July 7, 7th Youth ODI - South Africa U19 v Pakistan U19 at Chatsworth Cricket Oval, Durban
Read this report on News24Wire.com.
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