Mpitsang set to make debut (5 February 1999)

5 February 1999

Mpitsang set to make debut

Trevor Chesterfield

BLOEMFONTEIN - Plucked from the ranks of the South African under/19 side now in Pakistan, teenage Free State fast bowler Victor Mpitsang is set to become the second youngest player to earn a senior cap when he makes his debut at Springbok Park today in the sixth limited-overs game against the West Indies.

Although it is not a test cap Mpitsang, at 18 years and 351 days should join Paul Adams as the second youngest South African to make an international appearance in what is his hometown. It would make him the second black to play for South Africa after Mkahaya Ntini last season.

Although it is coming possibly a few days late, Mpitsang's inclusion comes after South Africa clinched the Standard Bank Series slogs 4-1 at Newlands. It gives the selectors a chance to give the former Grey College youngster a taste of the international arena before the tour of New Zealand, which starts next week.

Mpitsang is one of possibly three changes to the side with the selectors reverting to the rotation system for the games at Springbok Park and SuperSport Centurion, although Hansie Cronje, the captain, was reluctant to divulge "too many pre-match secrets". Whether Cronje plays is another matter. He has a groin injury which may prevent him from bowling although agreed he would like to play "in front of my home crowd".

Jonty Rhodes seems set to miss today's sixth match of the series while Daryll Cullinan may return at the expense of Gary Kirsten after missing the Cape Town game because of an illness to his son. Allan Donald is another unlikely to play and Steve Elworthy could be rested, making a place open to test Mpitsang's ability at this high pressured level.

"Sure the last two games in the series could give us a chance to try other players," said Cronje, stating the obvious. "As we have not yet had a selection meeting I cannot comment on the side likely to play.

"What I can tell you though is there is still a lot to play for and those who do have personal goals to achieve.

"There is a tour of New Zealand coming up next week and I know we need to have a look at those players as well," he added, indication preference being given to those who are to tour the shaky isles as opposed to the four remaining home.

This being the case Mike Rindel and Andrew Hall, who have not played since the second game in East London, may get a chance on Sunday as opposed to today's match which Cronje indicated he would like to win as "comprehensively as possible".

Against this current touring mob anything is possible. Cartoonists have run out of ideas lampooning the Windies and writers covering the tour have become embarrassed about mentioning their latest batting debacle.

Chance of Brian Lara playing again look remote although the physio, Dennis Waight, indicated yesterday it was up to the Windies captain whether he played or not.

"It is his decision," said the physio.

Kimberley-born Mpitsang, educated at Grey College and who made his provincial debut last summer before playing for South Africa in the under/19 World Cup, earned his A Section (SuperSport Series) cap earlier this season. Spotted several years ago by Corrie van Zyl, the current assistant South African coach, the youngster had a bursary organised to allow him to study at the famous Bloemfontein college.

Squads

South Africa: Gary Kirsten, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Hansie Cronje (captain), Jonty Rhodes, Dale Benkenstein, Shaun Pollock, Lance Klusener, Mark Boucher, Nicky Boje, Steve Elworthy, Gary Kirsten, Henry Williams, Victor Mpitsang, Pat Symcox, Andrew Hall, Mike Rindel

West Indies: Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Junior Murray, Brian Lara (captain), Keith Arthurton, Carl Hooper, Ridley Jacobs, Keith Semple, Nixon McLean, Neil McGarrell, Curtly Ambrose, Reon King, Philo Wallace, Darren Ganga, Rawl Lewis,

Source :: Trevor Chesterfield, Pretoria News

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