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U19 Cricket World Cup

Makhaya Ntini: Cricket’s next heroes can make themselves stars at ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020

Exclusive Column - Makhaya Ntini

It is an honour to see the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 coming to South Africa.

The event should be celebrated by all cricketers, and it’s giving the game’s future stars an opportunity to express themselves. It will make a massive difference to the players who are involved in it.

I’m excited to watch the youngsters entertain the country. As ex-cricketers, watching talent and being able to recognise the future is one of the greatest things for me. I’m looking forward to watching and seeing how these guys apply themselves to try and win games.

I’ve got very fond memories of watching my son, Thando, play U19 international cricket, and I was part of that age-group as well. The experience was certainly a delight, and it’s great that players can express themselves and become the heroes of the future for the countries they are representing. I think that experience is so important for them.

If you look at players like Virat Kohli and Kagiso Rabada, they all started playing U19 cricket and representing their country in the U19 World Cup, and look where they are today.

A lot of the big players now started in the U19 World Cup, and that is where you can get noticed and be seen by the world.

Cricket is one of the biggest games in South Africa, especially when it comes to the young fellows. They have got their heroes – you’re talking about the likes of Quinton de Kock and Rabada.

These guys have not been picked from nowhere – they played in the U19 World Cup. The key for the guys playing at South Africa 2020 is to look at them and how far they’ve gone, and where they are now.

Without a doubt, the U19 World Cup helps develop young players as people as well as just cricketers. At the age of 19 or younger, you’re still trying to understand how you can learn about the game, and the U19 World Cup helps them develop and learn to stand up for themselves.

Having the competition in South Africa will be a real celebration of the game – it is bringing the ultimate cricket experiences into the community, and will be crazy from the fans’ point of view.

All across South Africa, there will be an incredible opportunity to enjoy the excitement of cricket. The cricket on its own will become the best thing in our country.

Thando was fortunate enough to be selected in the South Africa squad for the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2018. As a father, watching that from a distance was crazy, and I was proud seeing my son playing the same sport that I played.

The U19 World Cup brings a lot of high hopes into the players involved – they’re actually representing their country. I think it’s going to bring a lot of excitement, especially when fans go and watch the cricket live in the stadiums close to where they live.

This event can without a doubt help inspire the next generation of cricketers, and I’m very excited for the U19 World Cup to begin in January.

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