Almost nothing is mentioned about the other Jonathan Bird, the opening batsman of the South African U19 team who gives bowlers the blues, the batsman who struck 142 runs in a one-day match against England’s U19 team recently.
South Africa’s U19 team achieved a series win against England for the first time since 2003 thanks to Bird’s excellence.
The google search for Bird the cricketer might yield different results soon, as Bird is destined to open the innings with Janneman Malan in the Africa T20 Cup for Western Province this weekend.
“If he stays fit he will play for South Africa within the next five to six years. Right now, he is the best young white-ball cricketer in South Africa,” says Graham October, CSA scout and Western Province Academy coach.
“He is a proper cricketer and he possesses all the qualities to play for South Africa one day. He is humble, grounded. He knows what his challenges are and is working on them.
“Right now, many all over South Africa are talking about Jono Bird, because he did not slog in that 142 against England. He played proper cricket shots and hit the ball far and wide.
“He plays the pull shots, the hook, the slog sweep and knocks it inside out over cover for six.
“We at Western Province had a meeting with Jono and his parents and asked them what his plans are and what he wanted to achieve. He said he wanted to play for Western Province and has a dream of playing for South Africa one day.
“There is a bit of Garfield Sobers in him – as he bowls left-arm seam and can also turn to left-arm wrist spin like Sobers did. But at the moment he is focussing on his batting.
“We have quite a lot of young players coming through right now and we must just manage them well. I’m excited,” October said.
“He will play at the 20/20 World Cup one day if he stays fit and healthy,” October added.