Namibia cricket captain Gerhard Erasmus said on Saturday that the ICC T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in UAE and Oman in October-November this year, was “big value to us” as “we have qualified for it after 18 years”.
Namibia will start their T20 World Cup campaign on October 18 when they face Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi in their opening match of the First Round and Erasmus is aware of how big an opportunity he and his teammates have at the tournament.
The clash will be Namibia’s first at an ICC global event since 2003 when they played in the men’s Cricket World Cup in South Africa.
“Obviously the T20 World Cup is a massive event for Cricket Namibia. It is the first major event we have qualified for in 18 years so it will be of big value to us. The players are looking forward to it a massive event in their lives. it could be something that propels their careers forward,” Erasmus told icc-cricket.com.
Drawn in Group 1 alongside Sri Lanka, Ireland and Netherlands, Namibia start their tournament with what on paper should be their most difficult match of the first round. It is a challenge they are relishing.
“The match we will probably be looking forward to the most is the first one,” he said. “Obviously it’s the first game of a T20 World Cup but it’s also against a Test nation in Sri Lanka and they are previous winners of the T20 World Cup so it should be a good one. We’re really excited for it now, so imagine the night before.”
Namibia secured their spot in the tournament by reaching the semifinals of the T20 World Cup Qualifier 2019 in the United Arab Emirates. Erasmus was the ‘Player of the Series’ at the qualifying tournament, but it is Namibia’s collective strength that he says will fuel their success at the big dance.
With the experience of Craig Williams, the emergence of exciting all-rounder JJ Smit and the guile of bowlers Jan Frylinck and Bernard Scholtz, the team is well-equipped to push for Super 12 qualification.
“Our team’s strength over the last couple of years has been the balance,” Erasmus said.
“We’ve got some more experienced heads and young guys that bring a bit of energy and also got very dangerous batsmen coupled with some good skill in between. In our bowling unit we’ve got some smart bowlers.
“I think all-in-all we are a very tough team to beat. If all of us are on song throughout the tournament our strength will lie in how well balanced the side is where everyone can chip in to provide a match-winning performance.”