T20 World Cup: After Ireland express concerns over slow UAE pitches for WC, Namibia want to take advantage of the Sharjah’s sluggish wicket

The slow conditions on offer during the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 might not be impressing many, but Namibia skipper Gerhard Erasmus sees a silver lining as he believes if the pitches continue to assist spinners, then his side will be in a good position once the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup gets underway.

This is Namibia’s first appearance in the T20 World Cup and they made it to this stage after defeating Oman in the playoffs of the qualifiers which were held in Dubai in October 2019. “Coming to the UAE, we have played a lot of cricket, we played against some high-quality teams. We have really enjoyed high-quality opposition leading to this
tournament. We have two warm-up games ahead of the tournament. We have come here to the UAE in good time, we have enough time here to acclimatise to conditions. I do not think we would be under-prepared heading into the T20 World Cup. We will be in good stead come our next game,” Gerhard Erasmus told ANI in an interaction organised by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

“I always think that tournament cricket is quite different to bilateral series and cricket here and there. Tournament cricket has a different ring to it, I guess in a sense we have a feel of the UAE venues. We know the conditions here, we have played here as a team. Perhaps, other teams have had individuals who have played here,” Gerhard Erasmus added.

Former South Africa all-rounder David Wiese will be representing Namibia in the upcoming tournament. He had qualified by descent since his father was born in Namibia. Wiese has experience of playing in a major ICC tournament as he had played for South Africa in the 2016 T20 World Cup held in India.

“There is no secret that David has a lot of experience. He has played a lot of cricket around the world in T20 tournaments recently. He is very experienced, he is also a fresh face in our team so that is awesome for us. He is someone we can learn from and the others are keen to pick his brain. He has fitted like a glove into the team,” said Gerhard Erasmus.

“He is a brilliant addition to the squad, as a captain it is important for me that he has fitted into the team culture very nicely. Hopefully, he can bring that experience and extra spark and balance the team out nicely for us. I am sure he is keen to do well,” Gerhard Erasmus added.

Namibia is placed in Group A of the Qualifying Stages for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup alongside Sri Lanka, Netherlands, and Ireland. The top two sides from the group will qualify for the Super 12 Stages.

“It is really good batting conditions here, everyone in our squad has good memories here. Very excited to get going again. Really looking forward to getting out there. Yeah, we have been following the conditions here and we have been doing our analysis work behind the scenes. The Sheikh Zayed Stadium wicket seems to be playing a little bit closer. We have different skills in the team,” said the 26-year-old.

“Not only for me personally, but we also have different bowlers in the group. That slow type of conditions in Sheikh Zayed Stadium could play in our favour. We always play good cricket when there is that kind of conditions. But then, we can rock up there and the pitch can be completely flat and the ball flies. We need to be ready for anything on the day. I think we definitely have enough fire-power in the group to beat the other teams in our group and then it is down to execution on the day,” added the spin-bowling all-rounder.

The Gerhard Erasmus-led side will start its campaign in the showpiece event against Sri Lanka on October 18 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. The next two games against the Netherlands and Ireland will be played on October 20 and October 22.

Namibia squad: Gerhard Erasmus (c), Stephan Baard, Karl Birkenstock, Michau du Preez, Jan Frylinck, Zane Green, Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Bernard Scholtz, Ben Shikongo, JJ Smit, Ruben Trumpelmann, Michael van Lingen, David Wiese, Craig Williams, Pikky Ya France.