Warriors wicketkeeper/batsman Sinethamba Qeshile is relishing the prospects of a return to the field, after a lengthy pandemic induced break.
Although he admittedly missed doing what he loves, works hard for and looks forward to, he remains grateful for an extended period, he wouldn’t otherwise get to put the other aspects of his life into perspective. “The lockdown was something to reflect on in terms of things to improve on and off the field and just taking time off the game was also a key moment where I can spend more time socializing with family and friends”. He then speaks of another positive, feeling as if players will benefit the most from
the lengthy period away. “The best part of the feeling now is we are fresh off a long break and ready to get going with the season ahead”. He said.
The King William’s Town-born star, is also adamant that, some of the things he was able to reflect on, away from the pitch will definitely play a role when he steps back on to it, things that include his relaxation mechanisms. “I think the things you do off the field, will play a big role on the field too and I thought for myself what I do to get away from the game is play a lot of FIFA 21 and when it’s time to get to business on the field I know that my head is clear and ready to battle out what’s in front of me”
The Warriors franchise had been building quite a formidable team over the last couple of years, with home grown talents such Qeshile, Sisanda Magala, Lutho Sipamla and Onke Nyaku all being monumental in a run that has led to a shared Momentum One Day Cup in the 2017/2018 season, and then two semifinals in the next year and this years abandoned tournament. Qeshile is now the only remaining player from that quartet and although he acknowledges the significant impact they had in progressing the team in previous seasons, he believes the current crop are no poorer in terms of the required quality, due to recent recruits.
“Obviously they have played a big role here at the Eastern Cape side and have done well for the franchise. (But) I don’t think that has an effect on the group at all, the reason being is that we have quality cricketers that have
joined the group from different franchises and also some from different provinces, as well as young players which bring energy and different vibes which has been good leading up to the season”.
While the likes of Sipamla and Nyaku have not been shy to admit that their departures were influenced by the prospects of one, establishing himself as a Protea and the other, becoming a Protea respectively, Qeshile respects their decisions, although the former Border Craven week first centre believes that there are different routes to the Green and Gold, as he has already proven himself, therefore he felt no pressure to follow suit. “Different players have their own reasons for leaving or staying at unions, but for me I think players can make the highest level from any franchise in the country and it’s all about performing and not just moving to a franchise
just to get looked at, players can get looked at anywhere in the country”. He emphasizes.
With all the first class experience Qeshile has garnered in the past two and half years-not withstanding being an international- It already feels like he is one of senior players in the Warriors squad, therefore being expected to play a leadership role alongside the likes of skipper Yaseen Vallie, Rudi Second and fellow Protea Jon-Jon Smuts. It then becomes so much harder
for one to remember and grasp the fact that, he is still only 21.
The former Hudson Park High School pupil, doesn’t necessarily choose to view his situation in the same manner, however, insisting that everybody in the team is responsible for its leadership, while assuring that although
he has not put himself in any category in the team hierarchy, he won’t hesitate to speak up when required. “Obviously there are players in the squad that have played a number of games and seasons but my thinking behind that is every player in the group is a leader”. He then
substantiates. “The reason I say that is, they all can give their thoughts about game situations. For me, I haven’t really thought about being a senior or junior in the side but I still feel I can give my views”
A new dawn in Warriors Cricket folklore, got underway with a 179 run loss to the Knights in Bloemfontein, in the opening round of the 2020/2021 Sunfoil 4-Day Cricket Series. That loss, however, has done little to dampen the spirits of Qeshile who insists the present squad has what it takes to clean sweep the domestic titles, as soon as the pieces of the puzzle come together. “I think that we have the potential to get to the top in all formats and we do have the quality players to do so with a lot of experience and young players that bring energy and excitement in the
group” he said as he assessed the squad. Qeshile didn’t travel with the Warriors squad to Bloemfontein, citing personal reasons, but revealed that he will be available for selection in the next fixture against the Titans, where the Warriors would be hoping for a change of fortunes at home at St. Georges Park in Port Elizabeth. A fixture he says he is itching to play in, having worked hard in pre-season and now feels the time has arrived for him to deliver.
A prodigious talent, Qeshile was given the honour to represent Border at the Khaya Majola Cricket week an incredible three times, turning two of those occasions into SA Schools selection. His then unexpected omission from the 2018 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup squad, expectedly more than raised eyebrows. But in an article with SA Cricket Magazine in the same year, he emphasized that he remained undeterred by his exclusion, as he felt an opportunity of a different kind was on the horizon. He might then, even be a prophet without knowing as just a year later, he received his maiden Proteas T20 cap, earning one before any of the U19 World Cup squad members, a feat that could’ve left the selectors either red faced or with egg on their faces.
Qeshile insists he hasn’t been resting on his laurels since then, and that there is still more work to be done. “As a player you need to grow in your game and stay one step ahead of everyone else” he said. “From then I have just spent more time in improving my game”.
The ICC T20 World Cup that was scheduled to be hosted in India has been postponed to next year. That then gives Qeshile an additional period to ensure he has a seat on the plane heading to the sub-continent in 2021. He reveals his uncomplicated recipe, which he hopes will prove the catalyst to getting him there. “It’s all about getting in the performances, consistently in almost every game and not change any processes that got me here where I am today, and then I will be rewarded” One thing he hasn’t been able to reward all his work with though, is a 4-day cricket century.
Despite all of his accolades and milestones, the 2019 CSA Domestic Cricket Newcomer of the Year award recipient, is desperate to finally get three figures in the “whites”. “For myself I’d definitely like to get that ton out the way in the longer format and obviously contribute to the team as much as I can”. He then concludes with a very simple objective for the franchise as
whole. “From a team perspective, it’s just to win some trophies, that’s probably the main aim”.