WINDHOEK - Namibia could turn out to be the surprise package in the qualifiers from Group D of the 2012 International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 Cricket World Cup, to be staged from August 11 to 26 in Queensland, Australia.
Group D matches will be played in Brisbane and on the opening day, Sri Lanka will take on Bangladesh at the Allan Border Field.
Namibia is returning to the ICC U-19 CWC after missing out on the 2010 tournament.
Namibia is one of the six Associate and Affiliate member sides, which came through the qualifying tournament in Ireland last year.
The young Namibian cricketers are led by fast bowler Steve Baard, who has already played two first-class matches, while other cricketers to have played first-class cricket in the side are Wian van Vuuren, Zhivago Groenewald, Andre Engelbrecht, Chris Coombe, Gerhard Erasmus and Bredell Wessels.
Baard admitted his side was in a difficult group. “We are in a very difficult group, but that always encourages the players to improve on their performances against some of the top teams in the world. Going in as the underdogs, our expectation is always to upset the Test nations and measure ourselves against the best,” he said. Baard said the event was an important one for Namibia. “The ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup is hugely important for Cricket Namibia and for the development of cricket in Namibia. We have a population of 2,3 million people and have a limi-ted pool of cricketers to select from. By playing in tournaments like the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup and excelling there will hopefully encourage more young promising cricketers to play the game and improve the level of cricket throughout the country.”
The Namibian squad is as follows:
Steven Baard (captain), Justin Baard, Luke Bolton, Jano Coetzee, Christopher Coombe, Jason Davidson, MP Delport, André Engelbrecht, Gerhard Erasmus, Zhivago Groenewald, Malan Kruger, Pelham Myburgh, Xander Pitchers, Wian Van Vuuren and Bredell Wessels
Group D schedule:
Sat 11 Aug – Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, Allan Border Field, Brisbane
Sun 12 Aug – South Africa v Bangladesh, Allan Border Field, Brisbane
Mon 13 Aug – Sri Lanka v Namibia, Allan Border Field, Brisbane
Tue 14 Aug – South Africa v Namibia, Peter Burge Oval, Brisbane
Wed 15 Aug – Sri Lanka v South Africa, Peter Burge Oval, Brisbane
Thu 16 Aug – Bangladesh v Namibia, Peter Burge Oval, Brisbane