The excitement is palpable as one of the most enthralling tournaments in world cricket is almost upon us. The ICC T20I World Cup gets underway this month, and we preview the 16 teams that will be competing to lift the famous trophy. Here we have the lowdown on Namibia.

Namibia are off to make their first ever appearance at the ICC T20I World Cup. And while they do not have any big names in their squad, they do have an exciting crop of young players who could make their mark in the tournament. Led by Gerhard Erasmus, they will be looking to play spoil sport to the hopes of Sri Lanka, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Recent Form

Namibia have played only four T20I matches in 2021, but they have tasted victories in all of those games. They enjoyed a 3-0 series win over Uganda in April, and beat UAE in the first of their warm-up games for the World Cup on October 05. Namibia also played unofficial T20 matches against various teams from South Africa and Zimbabwe this year. And they delivered some decent showings during those games as well.

Biggest Strength

For Namibia, their biggest strength is their batting. Led by captain Gerhard Erasmus, Namibia pose a strong batting order that will be a threat to almost any bowling attack they face in the tournament. From aggressive top order batters, to talented middle order batsmen who can keep the runs flowing, to explosive finishers, the Namibia batting lineup certainly has a lot of quality. And their batting will be further boosted by the addition of former South Africa international David Wiese. The all-rounded is a T20 journeyman who is equally capable of hitting the big shots and taking the important wickets.

Biggest Weakness

Despite Namibia’s batting prowess, they don’t seem to have the overall quality that the other teams in their group possess. They have the talent and their team is decently balanced. But their lack of T20I experience could end up hurting them in the tournament, especially on the tricky pitches that UAE will offer.

Ex-Proteas all-rounder David Wiese is set to represent Namibia

What the media are saying

Namibia’s prospects of making it to the Super 12s aren’t viewed very highly. But many believe that the Eagles have the potential to cause Sri Lanka, Ireland and the Netherlands a few problems in their qualifying group. There is confident that Namibia will be able to rise to the challenge on their World Cup debut. But whether that will be enough to qualify for the Super 12s is another story.

Skipper Gerhard Erasmus will be the key for Namibia at there first ever T20 World Cup

Star Player

Namibia’s star player is none other than Gerhard Erasmus, who has shown class and quality with the bat in hand to become one of the most exciting batters in the Associate game. No player scoring more runs at the 2019 T20I World Cup Qualifying tournament than the Namibia captain. Erasmus is technically sound, is adept at playing against spin, can play the anchor role and is also capable of destructive batting at the back end of an innings.

 

JJ Smit has been the recipient of the Player of the Year as well as the Players’ Player of the Year awards by Cricket Namibia in recent years

Keep an eye on…

JJ Smit has developed into a six hitting machine for Namibia. And his exploits with both and ball will be crucial to Namibia’s hopes. He has hit 19 sixes in just 13 T20I innings for his country, and his strike rate of 162.08 makes him a lethal finisher to have in the team. He is also a capable medium pace bowler with an economy rate of 6.48 in T20I cricket.

Projected XI

Stephan Baard, Zane Green (wk), Craig Williams, Gerhard Erasmus (c), David Wiese, JJ Smit, Michael van Lingen, Jan Frylinck, Pikky Ya France, Ruben Trumpelmann, Bernard Scholtz

Prediction

Expect Namibia to cause a few problems to the three more established teams in Group A. But qualifying for the Super 12s may just prove to be a step too far out of their reach.