Namibia Gear Up for World T20 Qualifier

After a promising start to the Intercontinental Cup with a victory against Hong Kong, Namibia’s cricketers now turn their attention to next month’s ICC World T20 Qualifier in Ireland and Scotland.

Namibia will be one of 14 nations that will compete for a place amongst the top six nations that will qualify for the 2016 T20 World Cup in India.

Namibia is in a tough group and will open its campaign against the defending champions, Ireland on 10 July. Their other Group A matches are against Nepal, United States, Jersey, Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong.

Group B will also be tightly contested and consists of Afghanistan, UAE, Scotland, Netherlands, Canada, Kenya and Oman.

The two group winners will automatically qualify for the T20 World Cup, while the other four places will be determined by cross-over matches between the second to fifth-placed teams in each group.

Ireland will start Group A as the favourites, but Namibia can also expect tough competition from Papua New Guinea, Nepal and Hong Kong.

The latter shared a T20 series with Namibia in Windhoek last month, while Nepal beat Namibia in a 50-over encounter in Windhoek in January.

Papua New Guinea has built up a reputation for its exuberant and explosive batting, while they gained One Day International (ODI) status in 2014.

The United States and Jersey will start as the outsiders in Group A but in T20 cricket anything can happen on the day, and they cannot be disregarded.

Group B will also be very tough with Afghanistan, UAE, Scotland and the Netherlands starting as the favourites and Canada, Kenya and Oman as the outsiders.

Cricket Namibia last week announced a 15-man team for the series which looks well-balanced, with quality and depth in all departments. The batting lineup includes match winners like Gerrie Snyman and Craig Williams and experienced campaigners like Raymond van Schoor, Sarel Burger and captain Nicolaas Scholtz, who all proved their worth with solid performances against Hong Kong.

Younger players like Stephan Baard, Gerhard Erasmus, JP Kotze, JJ Smit and Zhivago Groenewald have also made valuable contributions over the past year and the fight for places in the starting lineup will be tight.

There will also be g competition for places amongst the bowlers, with veteran pace bowler Louis Klazinga back from injury to lead the attack which includes JJ Smit, Sarel Burger, Craig Williams, Christopher Coombe, Tiaan Snyman and Jason Davidson.

Left arm off spinner Bernard Scholtz, who recently won the Namibian Cricketer of the Year award, will lead the spinning attack, which is complemented by his brother Nicolaas and Gerrie Snyman.

The non-travelling reserves are Bredell Wessels, Pikky Ya France and Michau du Preez.

Namibia will leave for the United Kingdom on 25 June to play some warm-up matches in England. From there they will travel to Scotland to play two warm-up matches against Scotland on 6 July and Canada on 7 July.

The Namibian team is as follows:

Raymond van Schoor, Gerrie Snyman, Craig Williams, Sarel Burger, Gerhard Erasmus, Nicolaas Scholtz (captain), JP Kotze, Christopher Coombe, Bernard Scholtz, JJ Smit, Stephan Baard, Tiaan Snyman, Zhivago Groenewald, Jason Davidson and Louis Klazinga.

Doug Watson is the coach and will be assisted by Rangarirai Manyande.

Dee Thakur is the manager, Bjorn Kotze the bowling coach and Janine Snyman the physiotherapist.

Source : The Namibian