|Newlands Cricket Stadium | Cape Town|
You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation is an adage particularly true of the Newlands Cricket High School and their proud head master Shaheed Shaik.
The Newlands Cricket High School boasts an intake of 62 learners from Grade 8 to Grade 11 in 2017 of whom more than 50 % are black African pupils.
The track record in 2016, the way they beat some of the best cricket schools in the country and the self-belief and humility in their approach to the game, have been hallmarks of their performances.
The U17 team of the Newlands Cricket High School reached the quarter-final of the provincial U19 Coca-Cola competition last year. The U15-team was a semi-finalist in the provincial knock-out competition.
“The U15- and U16-teams won four competitions in 2016 and had a 90 % win-ratio against Cape Town based schools and clubs last year,” said Shaik, head master of the Newlands Cricket High School.
“Last year, the U15 team won against top teams in the country like SACS, Waterfkloof, Garsfontein and triumphed against Potschefstroom Volkskool U15-team,” he said.
Shaik said he believed in good manners, discipline and humility. “Look at someone like AB de Villiers. He is very successful, but always humble.”
Shaik subscribes to the work ethic of hard graft, but says as a head master he and his support team, including the coach, Clinton Raven, had to assist players in breaking down stereotypes and intrinsic feelings of inferiority. They also had to instil in every player the belief that they are good enough to start every game on equal footing against any opponent.
“But having won, you still have to remain respectful,” Shaik added.
Another factor is that Shaik has implored the players not “to hang on their bats”, but to be busy.
They needed to look around, watch the bowlers, the fielders and not be passive. The same was necessary when they were bowling. That attentiveness, proactive-ness and boldness have been important elements of the Newlands Cricket High School’s tremendous success record the past year.
The school is one of the most pivotal institutes in the advancement of cricket excellence amongst young African cricket teenagers in the Western Cape.
Shaik said he has taken his team for a ten day team building and team bonding exercise to a farm in the Oudtshoorn farm which has no cell phone reception. In those ten days, the team eat, sleep, train and work together and a terrific unity and family spirit is built.
“And it has had an impact. Last week, the U14 team beat Westerford, and against Blue Bells, they chased down 209 to clinch it,” Shaik said.
Raven said he was disappointed as coach when the U17-team went down to SACS in the quarter-final of the Coca-Cola T20 competition this week. They dismissed SACS for 105 and was handily placed on 50 for four before they imploded to 79 all out.
“But I guess you have to give it another year until we perform on equal footing with U18 teams of other schools as we still only have learners until grade eleven,” added Raven.
“I am proud of the Newlands High School and their track record. They have instilled a value-driven and holistic approach to create excellent players, but also academic achievers and future leaders of society who embrace social cohesion and whose interpersonal skills are excellent,” said Nabeal Dien, chief executive officer of the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA).
Beresford Williams, president of the WPCA, said the school’s feats and their excellent performances against some of the finest schools in the country bodes well for the future of youth cricket in the Western Province.
Ticket-demands for the third and deciding T20 International between South Africa and Sri Lanka on Wednesday have reached fever pitch due to the news that AB de Villiers is ready to play for the Proteas in what would be the series decider at one of the most iconic grounds in the world, PPC Newlands.
De Villiers convinced the selectors of his form and fitness when he crunched an unbeaten 134 off 103 balls for Northerns against Easterns in a CSA One-day provincial game on Sunday after a hiatus of close to six months due to an elbow injury.
Mark Charlton, the Northerns coach, said De Villiers showed restraint at the start of his innings.
Once he settled, he displayed the full array of his attacking repertoire, playing sweep shots, reverse sweeps, lap shots and classical cover drives.
It was vintage AB. It was almost as if he had spent no time on the sidelines.
De Villiers has represented South Africa in 106 Tests at an average of 50.46 and in 206 One Day Internationals at an average of 53.63.
An international icon, De Villiers smashed 687 runs at an average of 52.84 for the Indian Premier League team the Royal Challengers Bangalore last season. His strike-rate of 168.79 is an indication of how he dominated all comers.
His friendly rivalry with fellow RCB-player Virat Kohli and the question as to who is the best in the world in the shorter formats, Kohli, De Villiers or Steven Smith, have produced many cricketing debates around the globe.
David Brooke, Brand Activation and Sponsorship Manager of the Western Province Cricket Association, said over 14 000 tickets have been sold for the match on Wednesday at PPC Newlands.
“I expect an avalanche of requests for tickets and we suspect that a capacity crowd will turn up in support of the Proteas. South Africa would obviously want to turn the tables after a disappointing defeat at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium and there are few other venues with such tangible South African patriotism as PPC Newlands,” Brooke said.
Fans who still want to purchase tickets, can do so via www.ticketpro.co.za or at the ticket office at PPC Newlands during office hours. The match starts at 18:00.
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