SOHAIL Mahmoud is a potential candidate to captain Maritzburg College’s first cricket team for 2014, and he is confident about the team’s year ahead, and his own future. Sohail’s big dream is to play cricket for the Proteas one day, and he has made impressive strides towards achieving that goal. The 17-year-old cricketer was named part of the South African U19 squad, and was playing towards going to next year’s U19 Cricket World Cup in Dubai. He has made the KZN Inland team for the Khaya Majola Cricket Week for the second year running, and the SA Colts team. Now he plans to make the SA Schools team. Such is the leg spinner’s talent that he has made KwaZulu-Natal Inland teams since he was 11 years old. “I made the U13 team twice, and the U15 team twice, and last year I went straight into U19,” Sohail, who also contributes with the bat, told The Witness. He has also been a member of the College first team since the age of 15, a rare feat for a player so young. As a spinner, it is no surprise that the player he looks up to is Shane Warne, the legendary Australian who claimed over 700 Test wickets. Another he bases his game on is Indian batsman Virat Kohli. Spinners have always struggled on South African pitches, which tend to favour seam bowlers, so what was his thought on this? “It’s never really worried or affected me. I’ve always just played my game,” he said. “I’d also love to bowl in a foreign country, especially in the sub-continent.” Turning his attention to the College team he may be leading next year, he said: “We’ll be quite strong. We have a young and exciting team. We have good all-round players, a good batting line-up, and we have [Lwandiswa] Zuma. He’s amazing.” Sohail’s father Faizal Mahmoud was also excited about his future, and told The Witness that due to Sohail’s performances at last year’s Khaya Majola Cricket Week, he wasn’t surprised by him being selected into the SA Colt’s team. “He did very well, and picked up 14 wickets. What I’ve heard is that he’s the finest schoolboy leg spinner in the country,” he said about his son, whom he described as being a bowling all-rounder. Mahmoud spoke about when his son attended Forderville Primary School in Estcourt, which wasn’t a “cricket school”, and having to arrange for him to play for invitational teams. “He played against a primary school in Ladysmith and he made his first hundred,” he said of his son, who was given a sports scholarship to attend College. College’s director of cricket Michael Smith said Sohail was a very good prospect for SA. “If he sorts out a few things out of the game, he will go very far,” said Smith. “He’s a superb cricket player.” • firstname.lastname@example.org NAME: Sohail Mahmoud AGE: 17 GRADE: 10 HEIGHT: 1,7 m SCHOOL: Maritzburg College SPORT: Cricket HONOURS: KZN Inland Cricket U11 to Under-19, SA Colt’s XI, SA U19, Maritzburg College 1st XI for 2014. AMBITION: To play for the Proteas.