Braunton’s up-and-coming all-rounder Jack Whittaker is about to lead the best of Devon’s young cricketers into action on tour in South Africa.

Whittaker, who attends Pilton Community College, has been named captain of the Devon Development XI that flies out from Birmingham to Johannesburg this Thursday on the first leg of the tour.

Ahead lie six games in 17 days in three different formats against under-14 and under-15 opposition. The tourists will play 50-over, day-night and two-day games during their time in South Africa.

The tour opens on Sunday at Skukuza CC in the Kruger National Park with a 50-over fixture against the Rudolph Academy.

Three adult coaches - Nigel Ashplant, Jack Bradbury and Hatherleigh player Paul Heard - are accompanying the touring party.

This will be Heard's third trip with Devon to South Africa as he went as a player in 2010 and as a coach this time last year.

Ashplant, who doubles as the squad manager, said the tour is a learning curve in cricket and life for the youngsters taking part.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for the players to experience cricket in a different country, under difficult conditions against tough and talented opposition, and challenge themselves in different formats," said Ashplant.

"It also serves as a useful pre-season preparation for the ECB National County Competition.

"However, it is more than just a cricket tour. The boys will spend 17 days exposed to African culture, with the opportunity to see African wild life in its natural environment, and learn about the challenges the country faces.

"It is a great learning experience on all levels, and one to enjoy.

"Jack, Paul and myself are looking forward to helping these players in their development over the next few weeks."

Squad: Eddie Butler (Heathcoat), Noah Carlisle (Plymouth), Zach Dunn (Ivybridge), Teddy Haffenden (Plymouth), Alex Holifield (Exeter), Matt Jeacock (Ottery), Jacob Kopparambil (Ivybridge), Jake Pascoe (Ashburton), Harry Passenger (Torquay), Noah Rider (Torquay), James Tyler (Ottery), Lawrence Walker (Ottery), Will Warren (Plymouth), Jack Whittaker, captain (Braunton).

Fixtures: February 9: Johan Rudolph Academy (Skukuza); February 11-12: Nelspruit Hoërskool; February 14: Bergvliet High School; February 16: Newlands Cricket School; February 18-19: Western Province U14; February 21: Western Province U15.