Friday, February 8, 2013


The Coca-Cola SA U19 team won the 2nd Coca-Cola Youth Test against their England U19 counterparts by 67 runs in Paarl on Wednesday and their all-rounder, Shaylen Pillay, played a significant part in the victory. His patient 63 runs in 173 balls in his second innings helped set the team up for their match winning 320/8.  He then took 3 wickets for just 15 runs to put a stop to the tourists’ impressive ability to bat for long periods without losing wickets

Like most of the other players in the Coca-Cola U19 team, the Tests against England were the first four day cricket games that he has played. He found it difficult to adjust at first, but he got into the rhythm. “England is a young and exceptionally talented team and they showed plenty of patience in the four day games,” he said. “I learnt a lot from them on how to bat in a longer game. They also played more like a unit than we did at first and gave us a run for our money.”

Cricket was not Pillay’s first choice of sport as a youth. First he was an ardent soccer player and at 10 years old joined the Mini-Cricket programme and started playing for KES under former South African batsman, Jimmy Cook, who has been his mentor and inspiration ever since.  Cook is currently busy securing him a place at a cricket club in England for the South African winter, so he plans to only start university in 2014.

Pillay is something of a veteran when it comes to the Coca-Cola U19 Khaya Majola Week – he played there no fewer than four times - last year being his best when he was named the all-rounder of the week. He also made the South African team that went to the ICC Junior World Cup last year, but didn’t have the greatest tournament. “I only managed to score in the 20s and 30s, but I was happy the coach played me in every game and the experience has been valuable in the current series.”

Shaylen made his professional cricket debut two years ago, playing for the Lions against Griqualand West in a three day game. He went out for a duck in both his innings. He said this was devastating and he lost confidence, but the next game was a 50 overs one and he made 70. “It was lucky that the games were so close together so I didn’t have much time to dwell on my poor performance.”

Shaylen will not be playing for the Coca-Cola U19 squad for the one day series against the English because the selectors have brought in younger players who will still be eligible for the 2014 Youth World Cup, to give them international experience.

He says his experience in the Coca-Cola U19 team has been a happy one. “We were a very united and happy squad and we had lots of fun.”

Shaylen went to school at King Edwards VII high school which was one of the schools that took part in the Powerade Performance Sessions. The school stands a chance to win tickets for the entire school to go to the South Africa vs Pakistan ODI at the Wanderers.


No comments:

Post a Comment