Namibia captain says qualifying for the World Twenty20 would be a “new chapter for Namibia cricket”
Namibia captain Sarel Burger is confident of a strong showing at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier UAE 2013 to propel Namibia to its maiden ICC World Twenty20 event, in Bangladesh in 2014.
Namibia, which made its ICC Cricket World Cup debut in 2003, but departed in a first round exit from the tournament, has failed to make another ICC global tournament. In 2012, it was one step away from qualifying for the ICC World Twenty20 2012 but lost out to Ireland in the preliminary final in the UAE and ultimately Ireland and Afghanistan qualified for the Sri Lanka event.
All-rounder Burger said that this time around, his team was well prepared to fight for one of the six spots up for grabs in Bangladesh. “Preparations have been going great; we have played a large amount of cricket in the buildup to the Qualifier. Our cricket board really went out of their way to make sure that we are ready for the pressure situations by organising tough opponents, of which a couple were the South Africa Emerging squad, Cape Cobras franchise team from South Africa and the like,” he said.
With some accomplished players already well-established in the squad, including Gerrie Snyman and Craig Williams, Namibia will want its young and new talents to provide the team balance. Placed in group A alongside formidable teams like defending champion Ireland, Canada, Uganda, USA, Hong Kong, Italy and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Burger expected a stiff challenge.
“In regional qualifiers and a tournament like this, you cannot underestimate any team or player. We will be approaching every game with the mindset that in this game, we must give 110 per cent and the opponents must be respected in their own way, no matter from which country or background,” said Burger.
Burger, who started playing cricket in his early childhood in South Africa before moving to Namibia after finishing school, made his debut for Namibia in January 2002 and was made captain in 2011.
The veteran feels that his side’s regular playing experience in the UAE during the ICC World Cricket League Championship and the ICC Intercontinental Cup gave it a good understanding of the local conditions. “I think something to look forward to is the tournament itself and to test ourselves against the rest of the minor countries. And to play to the best of our ability. We’ve been playing regularly in the UAE over the last 24 months and we’ve got a good idea on what to expect from the pitches,” added Burger.
Burger said that the team has been working hard and that a strong performance in the WT20Q to qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 would be a “new chapter for Namibia cricket. That will be a dream come true. This is what we were working for over the last couple of months and year. We will be aiming to do our best for the country and are looking forward to it,” ended Burger.
Namibia will play its first match against the host, UAE, on November 16 at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Namibia - Sarel Burger (captain), Stephan Baard, Gerhard Erasmus, Shalako Groenewald, Louis Klazinga, JP Kotze, Bernard Scholtz, Nicolaas Scholtz, JJ Smit, LP Van Der Westhuizen, Raymond van Schoor, Toby Vervey, Christi Viljoen, Craig Williams, Pikkie Ya France