It’s that time of the year again when the “Boys with Flavour”, the University of the Western Cape Cricket team (UWC cricket) prepare to rock their blue and gold playing kit to compete in the televised 2018 Varsity Cup T20 competition. The tournament was launched in 2015 in Potchestroom and since then, Tuks (University of Pretoria) have dominated the tournament winning in 2015, 2016 and finalist in 2017 with (Pukke) (University of Potchefstroom) who went on to win the tournament in 2017.
The performance of the boys with Flavour since the tournaments’ inception has been a mixed bag. Finishing fifth in 2015, finalists in 2016 and sixth in 2017. This year, the boys with Flavour will be without Jason Smith and Adrian du Toit, both talented players who decided to pursue professional cricket for Western Province and Boland respectively. The other players from the 2017 squad who will miss out in 2018 include, the current club captain Godwill Mamhiyo, Tayo Walbrugh and Zubayr Hamza. However, the boys who are set to represent UWC have shown promise and are more than capable and I back them to exceed what is expected from them.
Players to watch out for in this year’s competition include, Aaqil Ebrahim, an explosive batsman who on his day, can dominate any type of bowling and also bowls handy medium pace. Luke Philander, is another player who boast a bag of skills second to very few. Philander bowls right arm off spin, is a busy batsman, and is arguably the best fielder in the side. With ball in hand he mixes his pace well and creates pressure with his tight lines. With the bat, Luke might be handy batting at 4 to 6. Luke is an agile fielder, who brings energy in the field and fights till the end. All in all, Luke is one of the complete all-rounders in the team whom on a good day can win his team a cricket game single handily.
The third player to watch is Lizaad Williams. Williams brings in his experience and composure with the ball. Williams is currently playing for the Cobras and has also represented the boys with flavour ever since the start of the tournament in 2015. Williams is good with the new ball but his skills at the end of the innings stand out. Williams’ bowling at the end of the innings is unpredictable. He varies his pace, line and length quite well. If not carefully played he will surely be effective at the back of the innings by taking enough wickets at a very good economy. Another player to watch out for is Emanuel Seberame an off spinner and a natural wicket taker. Seberame varies his pace well and is not scared to toss the ball at any given time during a game. Seberame is also an experienced cricketer in the short format of the game having played a number of T20 matches for Western Province in Africa cup as well as representing UWC in all the varsity cup games. Lastly, is Thandani Majebe a medium pace bowler who is another prospect. Majebe is useful with ball in hand. He changes his pace well which is evident by how he bowled in the previous varsity cup. Majebe can also hold the bat hits a long ball that is crucial at the back end of an innings.
In conclusion, University of the Western Cape has a lot of talented cricketers. Whoever is selected in the team should make use of the opportunity. One should remember that this tournament is meant to expose players to scouts, and other teams. Hence it is important for players to realise and utilise this opportunity, if they intend to play cricket at the next level.
My probable 15 for varsity cup 2018 are as follows,
Luke Philander (captain), Fortune Reuben, Emmanuel Seberame, Thandani Majebe, Zain Allie, Dawood Christians, Jean Heunis, Aaqil Ebrahim, Sabir Malli, Lizaad Williams, Mujaahid Toffar, Rowan Dirk, Warren Stoman, Carl Vermeulen and Rowan Abdol.
(University of the Western Cape Masters Student in Sports Science)