The young fast bowler of the VKB Knights and Free State, Gerald Coetzee, may have bowled just 26 deliveries in the 2019 Mzansi Super League, but he has returned to Bloemfontein as a much more experienced bowler and in the process ticked a bucket-list or two.
Sadly for the Coetzee, he pulled out injured during the Jozi Stars 9 wicket defeat against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Saturday, and this has forced him out of the rest of the tournament.
The 19-year-old, who had been making waves for the Knights during the 4-Day Domestic series, made his MSL T20 debut for the Stars last week against the Cape Town Blitz at Newlands in Cape Town.
This match also resulted in a defeat for the Stars, it will be game the youngster will remember for a long time.
Coetzee not only made his debut in the international competition, but he also claimed the prized wickets of the Proteas wicketkeeper and captain, Quinton de Kock, and the destructive Cape Cobras batsman, Janneman Malan. He did take a bit of a beating in his final two overs to return figures of 2/42 in his 4 overs, but his first two overs definitely got the country talking.
Against the Giants he managed to bowl just two deliveries before a hamstring injury brought his campaign to an abrupt end.
While the news is sad for Coetzee, it does afford his some opportunity to focus on his South Africa U19 commitments, and more specially the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, which will be played at home next year, including matches in Bloemfontein and Kimberley.
The SA U19 coach, Lawrence Mahatlane, is expected to announce his squad for the World Cup on Friday according to Bloemfontein Courant’s sources. Although he is nursing an injury, Coetzee, is expected to be named in the team for his third U19 World Cup, and there is also a very strong possibility that the player will be the skipper, or at least one of the captains.
Speaking to Bloemfontein Courant, Coetzee said the MSL T20 was an unbelievable experience and to make his debut against his all-time hero, Dale Steyn, made it that more special.
“This whole experience in the MSL has just been unreal. It’s been such an awesome learning experience for me.
“It’s not just about my own game. It’s about seeing how other international cricketers go about their game and how they prepare for games. Already in my short time, I’ve learnt so much and it was just awesome to share a change-room with those people.
“To call some of them my teammates now that I have made my debut, someone like Kagiso Rabada or Temba Bavuma. Temba is such a good captain, even though things haven’t gone our way, he has kept a very cool head.
“Making my debut against the Cape Town Blitz was so, so cool, especially against Dale Steyn, who is my all-time hero. That was unreal.
“The hamstring niggle has unfortunately sent me back home to Bloem now, but I will be focusing on my South Africa U19 and World Cup things now.”
The 2020 ICC U19 World Cup will be played from 19 January to 9 February. South Africa will face Afghanistan on 17 January at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley. On 25 January they will host the United Arab Emirates at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein. – MORGAN PIEK