3. Can Namibia step up to the big stage?
Namibia arrive at their first World Cup in 18 years riding the crest of a wave. Since gaining ODI status and qualifying for the T20 World Cup in 2019, Namibia have developed a professional setup and culture among their squad which has cemented their place as Africa’s top associate.
Namibia have been on a roll since cricket resumed after the pandemic. In the last 6 months they have brushed aside Uganda, before winning comfortably against development XIs from South Africa, Zimbabwe. They then beat two of South Africa’s provincial teams, as well as Scotland and PNG in warm-up games.
The squad boasts a number of highly effective players in the shorter format. Captain Gerhard Erasmus’ exploits with bat and ball made him a worthy player of the tournament at the 2019 Qualifier. JJ Smit is renouned in the associate game for his range hitting, meanwhile, former South Africa all-rounder David Weise has joined Namibia’s ranks. On paper, Namibia could defeat any of their Group A opponents.
But the pressure of tournament cricket are something else, and not one that any of the Namibia squad have experienced before – except for David Weise. Under the eyes of the cricketing world, Namibia will face a level of scrutiny they have not encountered before. Will it inhibit them, or inspire them?