Zach Vukusic writes his captain's message for the brochure ahead of the Under 15s tour of South Africa. Keep up to date with the latest from the tour on Facebook, Instagram and Play Cricket.

As we, the Devon Under 15s cricket team, prepare for our tour to South Africa in February 2023, we can reflect on the journey that brought us here. For all of us, our place on the tour has been our aspiration and the goal for many years of hard work and commitment.

We have heard of previous Devon U15s tourists, professional cricketers and role models such as Tom Lammonby, Ben Green and Lewis Gregory. Ten or so years ago, these professionals were very much where we are now, excited and nervous, preparing to go on their own Devon U15s South Africa tour.

As captain of the team, I know we, the players, have a responsibility to do our very best on every part of the tour. Although we have earned our places, whether batting, bowling or fielding, we need to be focused and committed as players, and supportive of each other on and off the pitch. On behalf of all the players in the team, I would like to thank our Devon coaches and managers, recent and past, who have helped to develop our skills and supported our development as Devon players.

We also play at our local clubs and have benefited from Devon league cricketers who have coached and helped us improve all parts of our game. On behalf of all my teammates, I would like to thank all our parents too: we might not be where we are now without their thousands of back-garden throw downs.

Spring 2023 will be a great opportunity for all the players. We will experience quick and bouncy South African pitches, highly competitive opposition, and even floodlit matches! Off the pitch, our schedule also includes cultural and once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as visiting Table Mountain, a safari and the seeing sights of Cape Town. We are very lucky to be part of the tour.

The 2022 squad on Table Mountain, South Africa.Our recent playing journey into this tour has been one of improvement. Our 2022 season started disappointingly: we did not play our best, losing our first four matches by sizable margins to teams we probably could have beaten. But our spirits stayed high. In our fifth match, we collected a strong win away against a determined Wiltshire side, brought home with a very dominant performance from our bowlers.

Bowling strength and depth also led to our second win of the season, in which we bowled local rivals, Somerset, out for just 95 runs and needed only 27 overs to win that game. As our season progressed, in one way or another, all our players stepped up with the ball, with the bat or with great fielding.

We bonded more cohesively as a team and finished the season much more confidently with several convincing wins. I am very happy to say, too, that we continue always to be a friendly, supportive and happy team. We look forward to playing together into the future.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to the many people who are making this tour possible, especially our hosts at the Kruger National Park, Skukuza Cricket Club and at all our other in-tour destinations. Particular thanks, too, to our Devon coaches, managers and support staff who will be looking after us on the tour. On behalf of all of the players, I would also like to acknowledge all our parents and everything they have done to enable each of our places on the tour, and to pass on to us our love for cricket.

Our whole team is looking forward to playing cricket for Devon on tour in South Africa, to the experiences we will have on and off the pitch, and to playing competitively and to the best of our abilities. I know that the memories and friends we will make will last us our whole lives.