The South African Schools selectors will have a difficult task in selecting this year’s SA Schools side after seeing the heaps of talent on show throughout South Africa’s schoolboy level at the annual Khaya Majola Week in Makhanda this year.
Like we’ve done annually, SuperSport Schools Plus decided to pick an SA Schools’ side as per performances as well as statistics from this year’s tournament.
With a new breed of wonderful talent flooding the week this year, three faces from last year’s national squad will make the team once again, according to us.
Richard Seletswane, Kwena Mapakha, and Ludwich Schuld will be in action again this year. Seletswane will make the SA Schools’ side a third year in a row if his name gets read out this evening during the awards function.
He was the first player to do so since Thulani Ngxoweni (Selborne College) won his third cap back in 1996. It will make him only the 37th player to do so since the first SA Schools side was picked back in 1940.
Schuld has scored two centuries thus far during the week and will go into the final day as the highest run-scorer with 293 runs so far. He might add a few runs in his side’s promotion/relegation match against Eastern Province.
The North West batsman has shown his class as he amassed an impressive 322 runs at an average of 97.7 runs per inning.
Taking his place next to Seletswane in the all-rounder category, KwaZulu-Natal Inland’s Ross Boast also gets the nod from our side. Boast has been pivotal in both Hilton College and KZN Inland’s success in 2023 and is described by many as the top schoolboy all-rounder in the country.
Also cracking the nod is the fiery opening bowler from the Central Gauteng Lions, Esosa Aihevba. Possessing some intimidating pace and brilliant skill, the Aihevba has what it takes to instil fear in any opposing team’s batting line-up.
KwaZulu-Natal’s impressive Ntando Soni, currently sitting in second place on the wicket-takers list after four days, also earns a thumbs-up from our side. Soni’s performance of ten wickets for 85 runs in 26 overs at an average of 8.5 per victim has played an important role in leading the Coastal side to the final against the Central Gauteng Lions.
Western Province’s Raeeq Daniels also made our team after a successful tournament in Makhanda. Daniels has bowled 30 overs at this year’s event, taking eight wickets at an average of 16.6 runs per victim, currently sitting in the fourth position on the wicket-takers list.
The leading wicket-taker, Easterns’ Parth Patel, might only make the SA Colts side with the announcement of the official teams. He will, however, be a strong contender for an SA Schools’ cap after producing the best-ever bowling performance at the week with his 7/15 against Northern Cape.
Patel has taken 11 wickets thus far in the tournament at an average of 7.8 runs per wicket.
Riley Norton, captain of Boland, also makes our team, and if he is named in the official SA Schools’ side – he will join an exclusive list of 14 players who have represented both the national schools’ rugby and cricket sides. Norton and Teeger played for the SA Colts side in 2022.
KwaZulu Natal’s Hayden Bishop, who’s moved under the radar, also gets a nod from our side to complete the squad of 12. After continuing his wonderful form, he currently sits on 239 runs at an average of 83 heading into the final day of the week.
SuperSport Schools Plus’ selection:
Benni Hansen (Western Province), Ludwich Schuld (North West), David Teeger (Central Gauteng Lions, captain), Riley Norton (Boland), Hayden Bishop (KwaZulu-Natal), Richard Seletswane (Central Gauteng Lions), Ross Boast (KZN Inland), Kwena Mapakha (Central Gauteng Lions), Esosa Aihevba (Central Gauteng Lions), Sipho Potsane (Central Gauteng Lions), Ntando Soni (KwaZulu Natal), Raeeq Daniels (Western Province).