Future is bright, says Zealand
The Namibian cricket team missed out on qualifying for the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 tournament taking placing in India, but Cricket Namibia remains confident of the sport’s future.
Stephen Baard and Bernard Scholtz walked away disappointed that their dream of playing at the World T20 next year was dashed by Oman.
However, both received individual praise for their exploits at the qualifiers, with Baard scoring the most runs of the event (309) while Scholtz, who is the younger brother of Namibian cricket team captain Nicholas Scholtz, was named by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as the Player of the Tournament.
“The future still looks positive, and the younger players are putting their hands up. We at Cricket Namibia are looking forward to the next encounters.
We will be participating in the Africa T20 in South Africa during September. The players received a lot of exposure at the tournament, and they are much more confident, moving forward,” enthused Cricket Namibia chief executive officer (CEO), Donald Zealand.
Prior to the tie, neither of the teams had qualified for the ICC World Twenty20 before, and although victory secured Oman’s T20 international status for the next four years, it meant that Namibia would not participate in one of the two major world tournaments for the next four years, with the next ICC World Cup, which Namibia last qualified for in 2003, taking place in 2019 in England and Wales.
With this in mind, Zealand stressed that “development initiatives will now take centre- stage with more schools in non-cricket playing communities being exposed to the game.”
“Our under-19’s will be participating in the World Cup in January-February 2016 in India, and our junior age-group teams will be preparing for the SA Provincial tournaments in December,” he added.
The senior team will not be completely starved of international cricket within this time.
They will be participating in the Cricket South Africa (CSA) League, the I-Cup and the 2015-17 ICC World Cricket League Championship.
“We will have enough competition for the next two years up to 2017. If we do well in the latter tournaments, we will remain in Division One.
Our focus at the local level is obviously to intensify our development efforts and support club cricket better,” said Zealand.
Regarding the World T20 qualifier which Namibia lost to Oman, Zealand was confident that if they were to face them again, Namibia would emerge victorious.
“The shorter version of the game (T20) is very exciting, and the margin between teams is very small. On the day, any team can win.
If we were to play Oman today, we will most probably beat them. Yes, I guess there is a bit of luck involved, but the basics are critical. Bat well, bowl well and hold your catches,” he noted.