18 May 2017 – Saint Andrew’s fast-bowling all-rounder Gerald Coetzee has been named in a 15-man South African under-19 cricket squad to take on the West Indies, the winners of last year’s Under-19 World Cup, in a five-match Youth One-Day International (ODI) Series. The teams will do battle between 9 and 19 July in Durban and Pietermaritzburg.
Coetzee saw Saints’ 1st XI coach Gregg Hobson for the first time since he was named in the team on Thursday morning. Beaming, he told Hobson: “I think I am going to cry when I receive that blazer.”
Happy times: Saints’ 1st XI coach Gregg Hobson (right) congratulates Gerald Coetzee on his selection for the South African under-19 team
Coetzee recently attended a national camp in Pretoria, where a squad of 28, which included a number of players who had finished school, was trimmed to 15. The Saints’ speedster was one of only three grade 11 boys included in the line-up.
Commenting on his selection, he said: “It has been a big goal for me. For any schoolboy cricketer, I think playing for your country is the biggest achievement.”
The impact of the Lindsay Tuckett High Performance Centre
His game has benefitted hugely, he added, from Saint Andrew’s building the Lindsay Tuckett High Performance Centre, which contains state of the art Pitchvision equipment. According to Pitchvision, it is the best schoolboy indoor centre in the world.
“My game, especially my batting, has improved a lot and this is because of the Lindsay Tuckett High Performance Centre and because of Mr Hobson. He can help us and we can see what he is talking about. It has all helped a lot and improved my game and skills.”
As a number three batsman for Saint Andrew’s, Gerald Coetzee plays a huge role in the success of the team’s batting
Reflecting on his charge’s selection, Hobson said: “I am thrilled for Gerald. He has worked really hard. He probably would have made the side last year, if he wasn’t injured [at the Cubs Week at the end of 2016]. Between then and now, he has worked exceptionally hard. His selection is well deserved.”
Coetzee is the 11th boy from Saint Andrew’s to make the South African Schools side since Hobson started coaching the school’s 1st XI in 2005. During that time Saints, along with Saint Stithians and KES, has produced the most South African Schools cricketers.
In the first term of 2017, Coetzee played a pivotal role in helping Saint Andrew’s reach the national finals of the Coca-Cola Schools T20 Challenge, where they represented the Knights’ region and made the semi-finals. Coetzee picked up two man of the match awards in Saints’ four outings.
Gerald (centre, back) with the Saint Andrew’s team that represented the Knights at the National Finals of the Coca-Cola T20 Schools Challenge
It was nice to do well, he reckoned, but cricket is about much more than a single player. Displaying his customary, disarming humility, he said: “I can’t do it without the team, so I can’t take all the credit for myself. People always think an individual is doing great, but I wouldn’t have been able to perform if someone else wasn’t batting with me or bowling well, so that we could win a game. I am very happy to have done well, but it is not only about me. It’s a team thing.”
Being picked to South Africa has helped his confidence, Coetzee said: “It’s a great boost, but now you have to work hard, because the reality is you can get dropped. It is not like your spot is secured.
“There is a lot more hard work ahead”
“There is a lot more hard work ahead because now you’re going to play against people who are just as good as you, maybe even better, and you have to perform at that level. You have to make an impact. That’s a lot of hard work.”
Playing for his country won’t be about making up the numbers, he continued: “I want to be the best in my team. I want to be the pace bowler that makes the biggest impact. That’s my goal, although you can’t control it. I just want to give myself the best chance to be the best that I can be.”
Hobson shared: “Gerald said to me yesterday he has never batted as well as he is batting at the moment. He works really hard. Hopefully he’ll be that guy who scores test hundreds and bowls at 150 km/h.”
An unsettling sight for many batsmen: Gerald Coetzee steaming in
National under-19 coach Lawrence Mahatlane told Cricket South Africa he views the series against the West Indies as ideal preparation for the 2018 under-19 World Cup, which takes place in New Zealand, when Gerald will be in matric.
“It is an exciting team with only six players having previously represented South Africa, this is a great opportunity for those selected to showcase their talent.”
Coca-Cola South Africa U19 team
Raynard van Tonder (Free State), Matthew Breetzke (Eastern Province), Curtis Campher (Gauteng), Jesse Christensen (Western Province), Gerald Coetzee (Free State), Jade de Klerk (Eastern Province), Fraser Jones (KZN Inland), Wandile Makwetu (Gauteng), Andile Mokgakane (KZN Coastal), Kgaudise Molefe (Gauteng), Jacob Miltz (Gauteng), Thando Ntini (Western Province), Jiveshan Pillay (Northerns), Herman Rolfes (Northerns), Keenan Smith (Eastern Province).