The 18-year-old spin bowler from the Free State, Pheko Moletsane, was at a loss for words after being selected to represent his country early next year at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, which will be contested in South Africa.
Moletsane, who has only just completed his matric at St Andrew’s School in Bloemfontein, albeit he is still waiting for results, has long been a stalwart for the cricketing powerhouse in the province.
Moletsane is one of the “three” Free State players in the team, although the batsman, Andrew Louw, originally hails from the Northern Cape. The other local player is the VKB Knights’ fast bowler, Gerald Coetzee, who will be representing South Africa at the World Cup for the second time. During the 2018 World Cup in New Zealand, Coetzee was named as one of three South Africans in the team of the World Cup, along with his now Knights teammates, Raynard van Tonder and Wandile Makwetu.
Moletsane has had a taste of national success when he won the 2018 National Schools T20 title in Pretoria with Saints. As defending champions this year, unfortunately the Saints players just weren’t able to repeat their success of last year, although the spinner was one of the team’s standout players.
Speaking to Bloemfontein Courant, Moletsane said it was a dream come true to play the sport he loves so much for his country, and to do it at a World Cup makes it even better.
“It’s really a huge honour. I’m actually at a loss for words, I don’t know what to say,” said the young sportsman. “It’s such a great feeling and I’m really just looking forward to learning and exposing my skill to the world out there.
“Most importantly, I’m looking forward to play for my country, which is a massive, massive privilege. It is something that not everybody gets to experience, especially on the biggest stage of cricket.”
Moletsane, who has had to endure his fair share of injuries in 2019, admitted that he has already started tapping into the wisdom of his good friend and teammate, Coetzee.
“It is also nice that I have Gerald alongside me. We have been playing together since U13 level, so we know each other quite well. I’m also a great friend of his and we had some conversions about this.
“I have been speaking to him about the experience of playing and what it feels like playing at that level and I have received great feedback from him. I’m really delighted to be able to play at a World Cup alongside a fellow Saints mate.”
Moletsane is currently in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands where he is representing the Free State at the 2019 U18 Khaya Majola Week. In this team he has three other Saints teammates in action in the form of his spin-twin, Ruan Cronjé, as well as Corné Viljoen and Reeza Alexander.
The 2019 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, which will also feature games in Bloemfontein, Kimberley and Potchefstroom, will be played from 17 January to 9 February 2020.