It Is Reward For Three Years Of Hard Work: Cricket Namibia President

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - It is reward for three years of hard work: Cricket Namibia President. Namibia, an Associate member of the ICC, recorded their first win over a full member - Ireland.

It Is Reward For Three Years Of Hard Work: Cricket Namibia PresidentNamibia, an Associate member of the ICC, recorded their first win over a full member - Ireland.

As a cricketer, Rudie van Vuuren had a rare personal high when he took the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar. “The king of cricket, that was the biggest achievement of my career. Till yesterday that is,” the former Namibian all-rounder says of Tendulkar's scalp in the 2003 ICC World Cup in South Africa. Eighteen years on, he had a bigger accomplishment to cherish.

When Namibia beat Ireland in Sharjah on Friday (October 22) evening to qualify for the Super 12 stage of the T20 WC, van Vuuren – also a rugby World Cupper for his country, incidentally in the same year (2003), besides being a doctor of medicine and a nature conservationist – had a moment of collective glory in Namibian cricket. “It has been a reward for three years of hard work; now have to expand our player base,” the president of Cricket Namibia tells Cricbuzz.

Namibia, an Associate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), recorded their first win over a full ICC member (Ireland) and it was not a bad achievement for a country of 2.5 million in which there are only 460 senior male players and about 1000 junior male cricketers. Friday's achievement is a culmination of corporatisation of cricket in Namibia, which they had started with a new board three years ago. It has now become model governance for the associates of the ICC. “The ICC is using us as a case study for corporate governance,” reveals van Vuuren, who joined hands with CEO Johan Muller and both have set themselves the target of attracting more black Namibians into the game.

Cricket is not the most popular sport in the African nation. Football is, followed by athletics and rugby. There are in fact 55,000 softball players in the country. “Cricket is seen largely as a white man sport in our black majority nation. We have to attract the black players into the game. Today's win will help in our efforts,” admits van Vuuren.

The turning point for Namibian cricket came in 2019 when they were awarded ODI status by the ICC. It has helped them in getting more funds from the world body and enabled them to rope in professionals like Albie Morkel, who joined coach Pierre de Bruyn in their support staff. “The ODI status has also helped us having more contracted players. Earlier we had only four, now we have 17,” reveals CEO Muller.

Namibia qualified for the T20 WC in October 2019 in the UAE. By qualifying for the Super 12 – where they have joined India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan and Scotland – they have assured themselves of a berth in next year's T20 WC in Australia. “We get an automatic berth for the next edition,” says a thrilled Muller.

The ICC has been quite supportive of the game in Namibia. As per the ICC records, Namibia are one of the top performing Associate Members on account of their domestic cricket activity (participation numbers, number of coaches, umpires). They get an annual funding of just over USD 1.2 million per annum. The ICC also funds the participation of all members in all global events and pathway events, including bearing the costs of flights and accommodation. “In addition to this we provided financial support for their Men's T20 WC preparation programme which comprised fixtures against Emerging Zimbabwe and Titans Cricket (from South Africa),” revealed an ICC official. For Namibia, that is no small assistance.

Post the T20 WC, the Gerhard Erasmus-led team will set their sights on the 2023 World Cup qualification. They have qualified for – and will compete in – the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup League 2 – part of the qualification process for the 2023 Men's Cricket World Cup. The competition format provides them with 36 ODIs against six other countries over a period of two-and-half-years which started in August 2019 and runs till January 2022.

Before thinking about the 2023 event, they have 2022 World Cup to work on and before that they have the Super 12s to focus on. But Muller says, they have already punched above their weight.

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