Nation Ready to Host International Cricket Tourney

Cricket Namibia is ready and prepared to host the Pepsi World Cricket League Division 2 tournament which will take place in Windhoek from 17 to 24 January.

The local tournament director Laurie Pieters on Wednesday said that everything was in place and that Namibia would host a world class event.

“The facilities are ready and we are raring to go. During the holiday we worked intensively on the pitches to get them up to World Cup standard, but it’s been a battle because of the hot and dry conditions. But the outfields are in good condition, while our pitch consultant Phil Russel will once again fly in next week to assist us,” he said.

“The facilities are fine and all are up to standard, the change rooms and spectator areas are all in place and will be user-friendly for the spectators. The entrance will be free of charge so we would like to encourage people to come and enjoy the cricket. They can come with their lunch packs or braai next to the field so we hope to get a lot of spectators. All the matches start at 09h30 and consist of 50 overs a side so they will continue for most of the day,” he added.

The competing teams will start arriving in Windhoek next week, with Kenya, Canada and Nepal arriving on Tuesday, 13 January and the Netherlands and Uganda two days later.

The tournament director Edward Fitzgibbons of the International Cricket Council will arrive early next week as well as the ICC media manager Mary Godbear, the tournament referee Dev Govindjee and seven other ICC international umpires.

There won’t be any warm-up matches, mainly due to the heat, but practise facilities will be available for the teams.

There will also be extensive coverage of the tournament on international websites like the ICC and Cricinfo, while Cricket Namibia will also cover the event on its website.

Meanwhile, all the teams have been hard at work preparing for the tournament which will have a lot at stake for the six competing countries.

The top two teams will be promoted to World Cricket League Division 1 where they will join Ireland, Scotland, Afghanistan, UAE, Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea.

Besides a substantial financial boost from the ICC, this will also allow them to play in the ICC Intercontinental Cup which will run from 2015 to 2017. The winner will be granted an opportunity to play against the lowest ranked Test nation and gain Test status.

Canada has been preparing in Zimbabwe, while Kenya prepared in Pakistan and Nepal in Sri Lanka.

The Netherlands and Uganda are preparing in South Africa, while Nepal will also complete their preparations there.

Namibia are currently preparing at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria, South Africa, where they have lined up some practise matches against the University of Pretoria and Nepal.

The Netherlands recently appointed former Surrey coach and Sri Lanka batting coach Chris Adams as a coaching consultant, while Uganda has enlisted the services of former South African batsman Peter Kirsten.

Pieters said the Netherlands would be g favourites to win the Division 2 tournament.

“The Netherlands are the favourites to win the tournament. For the rest it will be a dog fight with Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Canada and Nepal all fighting it out for the second spot for Division 1.”

Source : The Namibian