The KFC Mini-Cricket programme has been the entry point to the Cricket South Africa pipeline and introduction to thousands of kids over the years. Some of the kids have managed to go through the pipeline from start to finish and others play cricket for the sheer enjoyment they get out of it.
In all cases the programme is designed to introduce the basics of the game – batting, bowling and fielding – but more importantly, it makes learning the game fun and many senior players profess to first falling in love with cricket while playing KFC Mini-Cricket.
Among the players that have worked their way through the South African Cricket pipeline are three members of the South African under 19 team that has been on tour to India, Bryce Parson, Nonolela Yikha and Ruan Terblanche. All three got their first taste of cricket in the programme and all three say they realised, there and then, that this was the game for them.
Bryce Parsons started playing Mini-Cricket in grades 2 and 3 when he was at CBC Boksburg Prep School. “Mini-Cricket played an important role in introducing me to the sport. I loved playing the game with my mates. My love for cricket definitely began when I was little.” he said. “I was first spotted as someone with cricket talent while playing KFC Mini-Cricket. I remember that the coaches used to pay me compliments all the time.” he concludes.
Nonolela Yikha started playing Mini-Cricket with his brothers at the age of 7. They were older than him and it was great for him to be able to do something with them. “My brothers showed me how to play the game and they helped me with my skills,” he said. “KFC Mini-Cricket helped me with the basics for the game. I learned how to pick up a bat and how to bowl properly. I was not the best player then, but I loved the game anyway and kept playing. Now I am a SA U19 player which is an incredible honour for me.”
Ruan Terblanche played KFC Mini-Cricket from the ages of 6 to 9 at Gene Louw Primary School in Cape Town. “I was the only one in my family who was interested in cricket. I remember the 2003 World Cup, when I was two years old. I watched a game and I loved cricket ever since then.”
All three players acknowledge the role that Cricket South Africa’s talent pipeline has played in their development and they acknowledge that KFC Mini-Cricket is the starting point of for that.
Ruan has passed through the entire pipeline. He played Western Province U11 and U13 and for Boland U15, u17 and U19 when he moved to Paul Roos Gimnasium.
“The format of KFC Mini-Cricket is not competitive but it also allows everyone to take part and play a role,” says Nonolela. “It’s essential in the CSA pipeline. It teaches you the basics and you need the basics to develop your skills at a later stage.”
KFC Mini-Cricket plays an important role in the South African talent pool, Parsons believes. “A lot of young cricketers go through the Mini-Cricket phase, it develops their talent and it allows them to fall in love with the game,” he said. He continues “It’s important for kids to get active. For me I had fun playing KFC Mini-Cricket, it helped me understand the game and make friends that I could enjoy the game with.”