Strandfontein Cricket Club’s Justin Wareley’s dream of playing at international level is close to being realised as he is about to jet off with the South African under-15 invitational side to take part in the International Cricket Challenge in Malaysia.
The youngster, 14, is among 15 players who were chosen from more than hundred hopefuls at the trials, at Primrose Cricket Club, in Rosmead Avenue, late last year.
However, they will have their work cut out in the sub-continent, playing against teams like hosts Malaysia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India.
But what can inspire them is the Proteas’ performance against Sri Lanka, leading the visitors 2-0, in the three-match test series.
The hard work begins now for Justin and his teammates. He will be hoping to impress the selectors and coaches to make the starting 11 and to do well in the tournament.
Justin said he was shocked when he heard that he had made the side because there were so many players and only 15 spots available.
“My hard work at the trials did not go unnoticed. I just gave it my best and remained confident throughout the trials,” said the all-rounder who is expecting challenging conditions in Malaysia.
“The fact that the sub-continent has spin-friendly wickets might work to my advantage. I hope to be among the leading wicket takers and top run scorers in the competition. Also to gain exposure on international level and to test my game in different at aspects. I would like to use this tournament as a stepping stone to achieve greater things,” he said.
At club level, Justin has been consistent in Strandfontein CC’s under-14 side in the Western Province Cricket Association(WPCA) premier league. He has best figures of 6/11 against Durbanville CC and 65 not out against Western Province Cricket Club.
He went on to help his side beat Durbanville and WPCC by eight wickets and 27 runs respectively.
Strandfontein under-14 are unbeaten and top of the WPCA premier league log. Justin also made the step up to senior level, when he took 5/29 in 12 overs on debut against Kuils River CC in a WPCA reserve league B, two-day fixture, earlier this season. However, his performance was not enough as they lost by seven wickets.
“To be called up to the second team and take five wickets on debut is a dream come true. I hope to be a regular in the side (second team) and hopefully get a call-up to the first team,” said Justin.
The spinning all-rounder credits his coaches Noel and Keanan Mitchell for always believing in him and giving an opportunity in the second team.
“They have always been there for me and my teammates, either coaching or transporting us to and from practice sessions and matches. The thrill of scoring runs or taking wickets on a weekly basis excites me,” he said.
Coach Keanan said he is proud of Justin because he has worked hard over the years to be where he is.
“He has always showed willingness and eagerness to learn. He always wants to test his ability against tougher opposition.
“I would like to see him represent the Western Province under-19 team and hopefully go on to bigger things,” he said.
If you would like to help raise funds for the trip call 078 447 7604.