The Newlands Cricket High School boasts an intake of 62 learners from Grade 8 to Grade 11 in 2017 of whom more than 50 % are black African pupils.
The track record in 2016, the way they beat some of the best cricket schools in the country and the self-belief and humility in their approach to the game, have been hallmarks of their performances.
The U17 team of the Newlands Cricket High School reached the quarter-final of the provincial U19 Coca-Cola competition last year. The U15-team was a semi-finalist in the provincial knock-out competition.
“The U15- and U16-teams won four competitions in 2016 and had a 90 % win-ratio against Cape Town based schools and clubs last year,” said Shaik, head master of the Newlands Cricket High School.
“Last year, the U15 team won against top teams in the country like SACS, Waterfkloof, Garsfontein and triumphed against Potschefstroom Volkskool U15-team,” he said.
Shaik said he believed in good manners, discipline and humility. “Look at someone like AB de Villiers. He is very successful, but always humble.”
Shaik subscribes to the work ethic of hard graft, but says as a head master he and his support team, including the coach, Clinton Raven, had to assist players in breaking down stereotypes and intrinsic feelings of inferiority. They also had to instil in every player the belief that they are good enough to start every game on equal footing against any opponent.
“But having won, you still have to remain respectful,” Shaik added.
Another factor is that Shaik has implored the players not “to hang on their bats”, but to be busy.
They needed to look around, watch the bowlers, the fielders and not be passive. The same was necessary when they were bowling. That attentiveness, proactive-ness and boldness have been important elements of the Newlands Cricket High School’s tremendous success record the past year.
The school is one of the most pivotal institutes in the advancement of cricket excellence amongst young African cricket teenagers in the Western Cape.
Shaik said he has taken his team for a ten day team building and team bonding exercise to a farm in the Oudtshoorn farm which has no cell phone reception. In those ten days, the team eat, sleep, train and work together and a terrific unity and family spirit is built.
“And it has had an impact. Last week, the U14 team beat Westerford, and against Blue Bells, they chased down 209 to clinch it,” Shaik said.
Raven said he was disappointed as coach when the U17-team went down to SACS in the quarter-final of the Coca-Cola T20 competition this week. They dismissed SACS for 105 and was handily placed on 50 for four before they imploded to 79 all out.
“But I guess you have to give it another year until we perform on equal footing with U18 teams of other schools as we still only have learners until grade eleven,” added Raven.
“I am proud of the Newlands High School and their track record. They have instilled a value-driven and holistic approach to create excellent players, but also academic achievers and future leaders of society who embrace social cohesion and whose interpersonal skills are excellent,” said Nabeal Dien, chief executive officer of the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA).
Beresford Williams, president of the WPCA, said the school’s feats and their excellent performances against some of the finest schools in the country bodes well for the future of youth cricket in the Western Province.