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Mirza Makes The Most Of South Africa Trip

Dec. 7th, 2009

US young cricketer, Cameron Mirza, has impressed coaches and fellow players at the International Pro Camp in Potchefstroom, South Africa that finished on December 4th. The 16-year old opening batsman - the youngest ever to take part in such a camp run by North West Cricket - played in both matches during the week at the University grounds. And with most of the attendees not realizing the US even played cricket, his presence has created a real stir.

Cameron Mirza drives in the nets at Senwes Park, Potchefstroom during the International Pro Camp that too place between November 30th and December 4th.

North West Cricket batting consultant, Monty Jacobs was on hand to assess Mirza in a mixed match of first-class and academy contracted players and against national team Namibia Under 19s. Jacobs, who is widely regarded as one of South Africa’s top batting coaches, thought he appeared unfazed and very organised. ‘’Cameron is a really good-looking player comparable to others at this camp'', he commented. ''There are some small technical tweaks he can make that will help him adjust to grass pitches but he will improve the more he plays on real turf. For a 16 year-old to come in at this level from the USA, out of his winter and not look out of place in any way is a real credit to him and his coach. ”

Brett Pelser, captain of the North West Cricket first-class franchise team the NW Dragons was attending the camp himself. He said, ''It's exciting to see emerging talent like this from outside the Test playing countries. Cameron is a super lad and fitted in really well with his peers. You can only wonder how far up the ladder he could climb with the right opportunities. He's been a credit to his country and we are all now keeping an eye out for his development as I feel sure we could see him go to the top if he can continue his rapid improvements.''
 
During the week Mirza received further expert batting, bowling and fielding coaching from Zimbabwe National Coach Kevin Curran and South African ‘A’ Head Coach, Corrie van Zyl plus South African professionals Andrew Hall who plays for Northants, and Deon Kruis who is overseas pro with Yorkshire. Mirza’s fledgling off spin also received special praise from van Zyl as having the best action of all the spin bowlers at the camp, which he then backed up by grabbing two wickets in a tidy three overs against Namibia.
 
Mirza is now staying on for an extra 4 days to work intensely with his coach, Mavericks Cricket founder, Ian Pont.  Pont arranged for the trip and also utilised the extra time to have Mirza seen by first-class player Pierre Joubert, who is captain of the Nashua Titans team currently playing at Senwes Park, Potchefstroom. Joubert along with fellow Titans player Farhaan Behardien, watched Mirza in the nets and offered their help and advice.
 
‘’He is a sweet timer of the ball’’, said Joubert. ‘’It will help him to move his feet less before the ball is bowled on grass and also to set his base a bit more strongly. But I see some really good talent here.” Behardien added, ‘’we watched him from the next net and were really impressed. I had no idea the USA played cricket or that he was only 16.”
 
Mirza leaves South Africa on Tuesday and is already excited by this experience of a lifetime. ‘’Senwes Park is one of the most beautiful grounds I have ever seen and it’s been amazing to be able to train here’’, he said. ‘My batting, bowling and fielding have all improved in such a short time and I have learned a lot, which I hope will put me in a good place for the future.‘’



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