With just six days to their ICC Under-19 World Cup opening match against hosts Bangladesh, the Coca-Cola SA under-19s will be putting the final touches to their preparation in their warm-up matches tomorrow against Fiji and on Sunday against the West Indies at Fatullah. Speaking to the media on Thursday, the Junior Proteas’ captain, Tony De Zorzi said that his side is looking forward to the tournament and defending the country’s title. When asked if he felt any pressure to defend the championship he said: ‘I think there is already enough pressure going into the first match without us having to worry too much about the end of the tournament before we’ve even begun it. As a team, we have said that we are going to try to keep it simple and take each game as it comes. Sticking to our strengths and working at enhancing them and perfecting the basics will see the rest take care of itself.’
The team arrived in Dhaka on Wednesday evening and hit the ground running on Thursday with a morning net session that saw the captain satisfied with the quality of work done by his team. De Zorzi says: ‘We’ve had a good week or so in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, training for this tournament and seeing the good work that we started there continue this morning made me happy. We will take tomorrow’s warm-up game as we would any other World Cup game and give it our best because we want to set the right tone for this tournament.’ South Africa toured Bangladesh in the beginning of last year and hosted a reciprocal tour against them in Durban last winter.
When asked if the amount of cricket they have played against the hosts will be of advantage to them, De Zorzi commented: ‘I think there are pros and cons to both of us having played so much cricket against one another. They will know a lot about us and visa-versa, but I think on the day, it will all come down to who wants it more. Our side has come together really nicely in the last few weeks and we are determined to put our best foot forward every time we walk out in our green and gold.’