WP’s Bird named in National Academy squad

Cricket South Africa (CSA) today named the squad for the National Men’s Academy for the next three-year cycle from 2021-2024.

Hollywoodbets Dolphins’ Ruan de Swardt and Thamsanqa Khumalo have been named among the six new faces to be selected for the Academy. They are joined by Mitchell van Buuren (Imperial Lions), Jade de Klerk (Warriors), Levert Manje (Imperial Lions) and Tristan Stubbs (Warriors), who will be aiming to make their mark under the guidance of head coach Malibongwe Maketa.

“As head coach, I am very excited to be working with this group of players. They tick every box with where we’re striving to take the game at national level,” said Maketa.

“In terms of squad balance, a key focus area is the development of black African batsmen, and we believe that we have quality black African batsmen in the squad. The make-up of the squad will also allow us to develop all-rounders. We have selected young all-rounders who we believe have the potential to go on and represent the Proteas.”

The National Academy forms an important part of the CSA High-Performance pipeline as it prepares the identified players that make up the 18-man squad for the rigours of professional cricket at the highest level. The squad for the 2021-2024 cycle will represent the SA Emerging team.

The National Academy program includes a five-week induction camp for all players once a year and specialised camps in and out of season for various cricket disciplines that are held at the CSA Centre of Excellence in Pretoria. In addition, individual intervention coaching, and monitoring visits are conducted at provincial level as well as two-week preparatory camps prior to any tour.

“It’s also important that we pinpoint the gaps where we need to assist in growing them both as individuals and cricketers, so that by the time they reach the Proteas in the next two to three years, they will be ready to perform,” added Maketa.

National Men’s Academy 2021-2024:

Joshua Richards (Imperial Lions), Bryce Parsons (Hollywoodbets Dolphins),  Kabelo Sekhukune (Warriors), Grant Roelofsen (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Wandile Makwetu (ITEC Knights), Lifa Ntanzi (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Thando Ntini (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Stefan Tait (Warriors), Dayyaan Galiem (Momentum Multiply Titans), Tshepo Ntuli (Imperial Lions), Jonathan Bird (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Gerald Coetzee (ITEC Knights), Ruan de Swardt (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Mitchell van Buuren (Imperial Lions), Jade de Klerk (Warriors), Levert Manje (Imperial Lions), Thamsanqa Khumalo (Hollywoodbets Dolphins) and Tristan Stubbs (Warriors).