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Local talent does country proud at opening of U-19 cricket World Cup

By Gasant Abarder

12 January 1998

The international cricket fraternity was bowled over with the opening ceremony of the under-19 cricket World Cup at the Wanderers in Johannesburg yesterday. Dancers adorned in red, yellow, purple and pink carnival outfits put on a boisterous show to give the visiting 15 nations a warm welcome.

The tournament was officially opened by International Cricket Council president Jagmohan Dalmiya.

``The event marks a new era in the development of international cricket. These tournaments are important to develop young talent, and I am sure that many cricketers participating in this competition will be donning their country colours in World Cup 1999 in England,'' Dalmiya said.

The visiting teams are from Australia, Bangladesh, Denmark, England, India, Ireland, Kenya, Namibia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe.

They were welcomed by United Cricket Board of South Africa president Krish Mackerdhuj, director Dr Ali Bacher and Minister of Sport Steve Tshwete.

A sparse but vocal crowd cheered every run and wicket taken in yesterday's opening match between SA and India. Fielding first, the local team kept the crowd riveted with excellent fielding.

When the team played a warm-up match on Friday, batsman Michael Lumb from Gauteng told The Star: ``We are all feeling excited and focused. There is a good team spirit, good camaraderie''.

KwaZulu Natal left-arm spinner Robin Peterson and batsman Jonathan Beukes said they were keen to do well for SA.

South African opening batsman Andrew Gait said the team had no real superstitions, but all of them had shaved their heads in preparation for the tournament.

``We have been together for quite some time and the team has been gelling well since September. They have had great preparation with matches against Australia and England,'' manager Fuad Waggie said.

The tournament, which has produced stars such as Pakistan's Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mushtaq Ahmed, will climax on February 1 with the finals at the Wanderers.

Source: The Star
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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 18:59