Kwena Maphaka Proteas South Africa U19 Cricket World Cup

Kwena Maphaka was the standout star for South Africa at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup. Image: ICC

Rising South African teenage cricket star lands IPL gig

Up-and-coming cricket star Kwena Maphaka is understood to have secured involvement with top IPL team the Mumbai Indians.

Kwena Maphaka Proteas South Africa U19 Cricket World Cup

Kwena Maphaka was the standout star for South Africa at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup. Image: ICC

Kwena Maphaka made a name for himself at the 15th edition of ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup as he produced a host of stunning performances of the South African side.

The young fast bowler certainly looks to have plenty of raw potential, and was quickly trending across social media as cricket lovers spotted the potential of a future star.

The left armer received rave reviews for his array of skills and stunning yorkers that appear certain to set the 17-year-old on the path towards the Proteas senior team in the near future.

It’s now reported by highly regarded cricket writer Stuart Hess for TimesLive that he has taken up a high-profile contract with the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The 17-year-old is said to have already touched down in India after hastily hearing about the opportunity, which apparently also came about with the help of his Gauteng Lions teammate Kagiso Rabada.

It remains to be seen what role Maphaka might play with the Mumbai Indians, but some digging on social media suggests he could serve as back-up ‘net bowler’.

Kwena Maphaka was the player of the tournament in the ICC U19 World Cup

The talented fast bowler has also featured in three matches for the Lions in the CSA T20 Challenge this, and during a recent interview, he spoke of the ‘inswinger’ as his biggest weapon too.

It’s a delivery that he apparently mastered alongside Shukri Conrad, the current South Africa Test team head coach.

“My parents tell me I picked up a cricket ball when I was two years old, playing garden cricket with my brother,” he commented. 

“There were a lot of challenges in picking up cricket as a profession at such an early age. There’s the pressure of studies at school, the lure of other sports. I would also play hockey, rugby, tennis and athletics … but cricket is something I really enjoy and my passion for the sport has just driven me through all of the hurdles, distractions and other pitfalls.”

When he was young, it was all about pace for Maphaka. As he progressed, he picked up the finer skills of pace bowling, including his trademark inswinger and unplayable yorkers. 

The next KG Rabada?

However, Maphaka maintains that his best quality is aggression – something characteristic of Kagiso Rabada too. Rabada and Maphaka came through the same school, St Stithians, and the duo possess very similar attributes.

“It [aggression] is something that comes very naturally for me,” stated Maphaka. “I am a very competitive person at heart. I think it’s my biggest attribute. But to be compared with someone like KG [Rabada] is humbling. 

“KG is an inspiration to a lot of people in South Africa and outside, just the way he’s gone about his cricket, the work he has done from such a young age. It’s something I am trying to take on board.”