By Courage Maestro
AFTER failing to qualify for 2015 Cricket World Cup, Namibia has pinned its hopes on the national Under-19 side which is taking part in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in United Arab Emirates beginning this Saturday until February 28.
The developmental side has been drawn in group B with tournament favourites Australia, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Their first match will be against Australia on Saturday, before facing Bangladesh on 17 February and will finish the group stage with a tie against minnows, Afghanistan on 19 February.
Namibia has, in the past, failed to impress at this stage and will be hoping for a seventh time lucky when prestigious biennial youth tournament gets underway.
The country first competed in South Africa in 1998, where they lost all their matches and two years later they once again lost all their matches in Sri Lanka.
Their best performance came in New Zealand in 2002 when Namibia beat Sri Lanka, Canada and Scotland and eventually lost to Zimbabwe in the Plate semifinals.
In 2006, Namibia beat Scotland before losing to the United States in the Plate quarterfinals, but since then they have lost all their matches.
In 2008, Namibia suffered heavy defeats against Australia by 149 runs and Sri Lanka by 163 runs, and in 2012 they once again lost by big margins – by 195 runs against Sri Lanka, 209 runs against South Africa, and seven wickets against Bangladesh.
This time around, the team will be able to count on experienced, captain Gerhard Erasmus, batsmen Malan Kruger and Michau du Preez and bowler Bredell Wessels, who all competed in 2012, while Erasmus, Xander Pitchers, JJ Smit and JP Kotze represented the senior team at last month’s World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand.
Other players who have represented the senior Namibian team are batsmen Xander Pitchers, Michau du Preez, Wayne Raw and Zane Green and bowlers Tiaan Snyman, Bredell Wessels, MP Delport and Ricardo Strauss.
Looking forward to the tournament, Captain Gerhard Erasmus said the team aims to progress beyond the group stages.
“We will need a to back up each other well and probably compliment as good team fight to back up one or to two special performances.
I will do my bit as captain and will be looking at Vice-Captain JJ Smit to lead the bowlers and keeper-batsman JP Kotze to construct the middle-order with Malan Kruger,” he said.
The tournament provides a good platform to nurture young talent and has produced top cricketers such as Alastair Cook and Graeme Smith
The U19 Namibian squad is as follows:
Gerhard Erasmus (captain), JJ Smit (vice-captain), Cobus Brand, MP Delport, Michau du Preez, Zane Green, Joshuan Julies, JP Kotze, Malan Kruger, Jano Coetzee, Xander Pitchers, Wayne Raw, Ricardo Strauss, Bredell Wessels and Tiaan Snyman.
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