The Audi Q5 Fast Track, South Africa’s first cricket development initiative designed to utilise state-of-the-art technology to identify bowling talent, held its national final this week at the Clifton Oval in Cape Town. The final included Proteas players who were on hand to scout for the next fast bowling stars and brought together 24 of the best young bowlers from around the country.
The aim of the day was to allow standout young bowlers to showcase their talent in front of Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) development team. Gerhardus Fourie from Limpopo and Constance Sardick from Gauteng emerged as winners on the day, recognising their all-round bowling skills.
Sardick, who experienced her first trip to Cape Town, said “The Audi Q5 Fast Track final was definitely one of the most exciting experiences of my life. Not only did I get to experience the amazing technology of the Audi Bowling Lab or have the opportunity to show my talent in front of Cricket South Africa but I also got to meet my heroes and experience Cape Town for the first time.”
The Audi Q5 Fast Track initiative, in collaboration with CSA, was conceived with the aim of utilising the Audi Bowling Lab (a set-up which uses world-leading Pitchvision technology to assess a bowler’s action, line, length and speed) to identify young bowling talent in untapped rural areas.
It has since visited Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo and Western Cape. Former Protea fast bowler, Mfuneko Ngam, served as the lead talent scout and was directly involved in selecting standout bowlers in each region who would ultimately make it through to the national final.
Ngam commented, “The Audi Q5 Fast Track was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my career. Audi has helped us to realise the depth of bowling talent that exists across our country – something which makes me very hopeful for the future of South African cricket.”
On the day of the final, the young bowlers were put through their paces by what was undoubtedly the foremost scouting team ever assembled in South African cricket.
The team included: Corrie van Zyl (Cricket General Manager: CSA); David Mokopanele (Manager: Mass Participation); Victor Mpitsang (SA u19 Convenor of Selectors); , Ottis Gibson and Hilton Moreeng (Proteas national coaches); Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dane Paterson, Dwayne Pretorius and Shabnim Ismail (current Proteas).
The scouting team took the boys and girls through a series of training sessions and motivational talks before assessing their bowling potential using the Audi Bowling Lab.
“I was immensely impressed by the level of talent we witnessed here today,” commented Ottis Gibson, Standard Bank Proteas head coach.
“Having come from a fast bowling background I am very excited about this initiative and to have been a part of it. South Africa has a great fast bowling tradition, my hope is that one of the young bowlers we witnessed here today will continue that legacy in the future,” he added.
The national final sees the culmination of the 2017 edition of the Audi Q5 Fast Track with all those involved in the program holding high hopes for the talent uncovered around South Africa.
“In conducting this initiative, we hope that we have not only provided opportunities to individuals who may never have had the chance to show their skills but that we have also broadened the talent pool for CSA to develop their next crop of Protea bowlers. As a Progressive Partner to the Proteas, Audi is proud to have utilised our resources to drive progress for South African youth within sport development.” concluded Trevor Hill, Head of Audi South Africa.