One on One with SA U19 Captain Chad Bowes

Thu, 08/11/2012 - 18:01
  • Chad bowes lizaad william

SA U19 Captain Chad Bowes speaks one on one with HSSM's Sazi Luke about why he thinks South Africa has a bright future in international cricket and the importance of education for young sportsmen. The talented junior Protea also speaks about the roles his family, coach, and special female companion play in his young sporting career. 

Cricket Achievements

Teams Age
U13 KZN 13
U15 KZN 15
U19 KZN 16-19
Dolphins Academy 17
Frist Class Debut 18
U19 SA Captain 19

HSSM: Chad can you tell me a bit more about yourself, your upbringing and where you’re from?
Chad Bowes: I was born in Joburg, lived there for thirteen years. I played about every sport there was to offer at school. I was pretty good at soccer, I’ve played soccer since I was 6 years old. I went to a lot of soccer trials but it started to overlap with my provincial cricket so I had to choose either cricket or soccer and it was cricket. I wasn’t too fazed as cricket was always my number one.

“My family supports me 100%”

HSSM: What are your first cricket memories you have of yourself?
Chad Bowes: It was just playing cricket in the garden with my dad and friends. That was just kind of getting that first taste and love for the game, and then obviously watching my heroes play and getting their autographs.

HSSM: Who would you say has been your biggest role model and supporter thus far?
Chad Bowes: My family supports me 100%. They always have my back and have been along with me in my dream and journey. And with regards to role models, Jonty Rhodes has always been someone I aspired to be like.

HSSM: So how was it like to play with him at the JCE Trust cricket invitational, any nerves going into the game?

“scoring 150 against the Australian side”

Chad Bowes: That was pretty cool I won’t lie. Especially to catch him out, thought that was pretty ironic. I was actually under pressure, because he kind of instilled a passion for the game and I didn’t want to stop watching cricket because he was playing.

HSSM: You have had quite a decorated high school cricket career. What would you say is your most notable or memorable of those achievements?
Chad Bowes: Sho, there has been quite a few. Cricketing wise maybe scoring 150 against the Australian side in 2010 and it was the highest score I had scored at that point in time. Making a century in first class cricket for KZN against the Free State.

HSSM: Who would you say has been the most challenging bowler you have faced?
Chad Bowes: There has been obviously a few guys that have heated me up quite a bit, especially at the world cup bowling mid-140s… I would have to say in the South African circuit Keaton Jennings, Ray's son. Whenever we play each other we just seem to get each other out. He was at KES, now he is playing cricket in England. I think when we play I just play the name not the ball, so I just want to hit him everywhere, and when I’m bowling he's the guy I want. It’s not a problem for me, it’s just a little friendly rivalry.

HSSM: Could you tell us about the experience of playing for the SA U19 at the Junior World Cup and having the honour of captaining the side.

“I could probably say that we were the best team there”

Chad Bowes: Obviously there was pressure, even if I wasn’t captain there is always pressure representing your country, but I embraced the challenge. Ray Jennings [SA U19 coach] and I worked quite well together and formed a good relationship. So they all had my back and backed me in the decisions I made and I got on well with the players. They respected me and I respected them. At the end of the day it was a pretty successful world cup even though we came third. The performances and the way we played cricket was really good, so it was very good to lead that side.

HSSM: Having being privileged to play at the junior world cup, how do you think the standard of cricket at that level is compared to the rest of the world?

“I do think that the U19's do have a different mentality to the senior team”

Chad Bowes: I could probably say that we were the best team there; I have no doubt that our structures at U19 level are one of the best in the world. So for school players to be involved with that system is really good and they do get exposed to high levels and international training camps. When you get to the world cup the guys are really geared towards winning and are not blown away by the standard because they are not used to it. So I think any U19 side is well prepared to take on anyone else in the world.

HSSM: The South African senior team has always come close to winning world tournaments but have never quite gone the whole way. Do you feel the current crop of youngsters and the structure they have been given has the potential to break the chokers tag we carry and enable us to win tournaments in the future?

"definitely under the coaching and supervision of Ray Jennings and the management team"

Chad Bowes: I would hope so, I do think that the U19's do have a different mentality to the senior team. I do think we have the belief that we can do it, I just think it’s a case of coming together, executing our plans, and preparing at the key times in world cups. I think because the senior side has suffered so many times in the world cup they do have a label that comes with them whenever they do go to a world cup, and there is pressure on them without even playing games yet. Whereas in regards to U19, there is no expectation to get far and then falter. I think we go with a fresh mind set as not many players play more than one world cup at that level anyway. We go in there and believe we can go all the way. This year we should have, but we just had a bad period of play at a crucial time, so it is all a learning process and hopefully the next world cup we can learn from mistakes we made. But definitely under the coaching and supervision of Ray Jennings and the management team, they all prepare us enough to hopefully win in the future tournaments.

HSSM: Your achievements speak for themselves, how do you feel this will translate into you going professional? Does it give you a head start, or does it put more pressure on you?

“My goal is to give the selectors no reason to not pick me”

Chad Bowes: I think it does give me a head start and advantage over guys who probably haven’t been able to achieve national colours and go to a world cup. People are now able to say that I can perform on the big stage with pressure, and personally, I have been exposed to a higher standard so I could come back to SA and play provincial cricket. I don’t want to say I should step down but it’s nothing I’m not used to and I just believe that I can perform at any level after the world cup.

HSSM: But you only still 19, isn’t there still quite a lot of pressure on you or is it part of your personality?
Chad Bowes: There is, there is pressure. But also gaining experience from the world cup and being able to handle that sort of pressure, I’m able to form methods and ways of going about my game and going about preparation in order to perform at say, first class and franchise cricket.

HSSM: What would you say your short and long term goals are?

Chad Bowes: Goals is one of the things where I don’t look to put pressure on myself. I feel that when I set goals for myself it’s not about reaching dreams or being selected for certain sides cause that’s just added pressure. For me it’s about being the best I can be and hopefully that’s being the best in the side, so that when teams higher up look down they say: 'hey that’s my name that’s sticking out all the time'. My goal is to give the selectors no reason to not pick me, so at the end of the season when they look at performances my name will always stick out at the end of the day. So yes, there is those goals you have to align yourself with along the way, but it’s not as if I’m saying I want to make Dolphins A side by this month because for me that’s just pressure; that’s not necessary. If I do perform to the best of my ability I should make that side in any case.   

HSSM: Where would you like to see yourself in the next, let’s say, 5 – 6 years?

"successfully perform at the highest level and stay there for as long as I can"

Chad Bowes: Well obviously my dream has always been to play for SA at the highest level and that hasn’t changed, so in five or six years’ time hopefully I’ll be part of the national setup and find my feet in professional cricket because it is a long career and I am still young and I am still learning and hopefully by that time I will have figured out a way to successfully perform at the highest level and stay there for as long as I can.

HSSM: What do you think of the standard of high school cricket and how it affects the development of cricket as a whole? Where do you think we are?

Chad Bowes: I think after playing a lot of first class cricket and SA U19 cricket the level of high school cricket is a lot lower, and I do think structured to that is the coaching standards because a lot of the first team coaches are teachers at the school. So if you get more professional guys and players to come help out at the school, that would add a lot of value. but at the moment I think the standard of high school cricket isn’t bad at all, there’s just a lot of room for improvement.

HSSM: There have been a lot professional coaches getting involved at high school level especially in rugby, but it does result in the sport being semi-professional at a high school level and creating lots of competiveness. Do you feel like cricket is headed in that direction?
Chad Bowes: I don’t think it's heading that way. I think it’s good for school boys to still be school boys, but at the same time they still need to know what they need to do to be a professional sportsmen and that’s why I think professional coaches should come in and just help them out and make them understand 'this is what you need to do to play at this level, but still have that school grounding. Because if you are in school and playing semi-professional sports, now what about the other guys in the same team, will they now be thinking I’m not good enough so let me just pack my bags or... It could affect the dynamics of the teams within the school, whatever sport it is. I think at the moment it’s not a semi-professional sport but I think it could be better, we've just got to do it the right way.

HSSM: The Kearsney 1st XI cricket team has had quite an indifferent season this year, what are your thoughts on their performance?

"if you keep on grinding out and grinding out the rewards will be there"

Chad Bowes: It’s been unfortunate in that two of the tournaments that Kearsney regularly play in have been omitted from the schedule, so fewer cricket has been played this year which has been unfortunate, and of course the weather has played a huge role. What happens when you don’t play often enough? you can’t get momentum and you can’t form solid performances. But the 1st team hasn’t performed to its ability, it hasn’t been a poor season but there is always room for improvement.

HSSM: For kids out there who look at what you have done at high school and would like to achieve the feats you have, what is your message for them?
Chad Bowes: I don’t want to say anything cliché because a lot of guys just try to say the right thing and not really believe in it. So I would say the keys are not to give up and keep on persevering, but it’s the way you go about it that is the most important thing. So if you’re not making the side that you want to, and even if you are making the side, the key focus point is why you want to play cricket, why you want to play for South Africa. You must have that in mind, so that when you go through hard times you fall back on the passion, the love or the reason you play cricket and say this is going to keep me going. So if you keep on grinding out and grinding out the rewards will be there, and they might not be as big as you hoped or they might not come when you want them to come, but if you keep on doing the right things consistently you will be able to make the right sides and you will be able to succeed in whatever you believe in.

HSSM: What would you say is a healthy balance between working hard on your studies and working hard on the sports field, as not everyone at high school level is lucky enough to make it to the pros?

“I’ve got a semi-professional contract with the Dolphins”

Chad Bowes: I think it’s important to have that balance so that if something doesn’t go right you have something to fall back on. In saying that you have got to give 100% to want you want to do, whether its cricket, rugby, or whatever it is that you want to achieve, sports or academics. You have got to try finding a balance and, ja, not a lot of people actually play international sports after high school but obviously guys would want to give it as much chances as possible to make it there. But you have to have something else in mind just in case it doesn’t work.

HSSM: Have you signed a contract with any franchise?
Chad Bowes:  I’ve got a semi-professional contract with the Dolphins. It’s not a huge deal or contract, and hopefully in the season to come I’ll get up there and through good performances they will see I’m capable of performing at franchise level and they will sign me up to the A side. But as you said, I’m still young so I have to keep thinking long term keep doing what I need to do for them to give me a better offer.

HSSM: What do you do when you’re not training or playing cricket?
Chad Bowes: For me family is very important, so I try spending as much quality time with them as I can because obviously cricket involves a lot of travelling and you will be away with your team mates and not involved with your family or friends. So whenever I have an opportunity, I spend time with them going to braais or the beach. When the sun is out in Durban I like to go to the beach and park there the whole day, and of course spend time with my girlfriend.

"Her name is Chloe Stone"

HSSM: So can you tell us about this special girl in your life?
Chad Bowes: [laughs] Her name is Chloe Stone, met her at church. Phenomenal girl, I have never felt like that about anyone before. It's been 5 months so it’s still fresh, but there is definitely something worthwhile there.

HSSM: So how does she feel about all the travelling that’s involved with your career?
Chad Bowes: It’s not easy especially when I was at the high performance centre for ten weeks, and the world cup that wasn’t easy. But it’s just getting your mind focused on what you need to do at that particular time. She is not a distraction, but when I’m playing cricket I’m playing cricket, and when I’m off the field then I can tend to her and have my time with her. She understands that cricket is a priority in my life. She has gotten into that family role were she will support me in whatever I do and she will always be there for me when I come back.

Photos by Ian Hitchcock/ Getty Images
Photos Supplied by Chad Bowes

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