While cricket lovers had to wait till 2021 for the T20 World Cup to return from its five year hiatus (further delayed by a year due to COVID-19), we now have the luxury of watching another iteration starting this Sunday in Australia.
Originally intended to replace the much derided Champions Trophy tournament for good, the 2022 T20 World Cup will revert back to its two year cycle from 2024. Despite that, the Champions Trophy also makes a triumphant return in 2025 in a rejigged ICC 2024-2031 events cycle.
While, a biennial T20 World Cup can be a bit of overkill, there’s no denying the valuable playing opportunities it provides to Associate nations. Plus with the World Cup expanding to 20 teams in 2024 and the incorporation of a more meritocratic structure with the existing first round scrapped, it is good news for the sport’s global ambitions.
With that in mind, here are seven exciting associate players to watch out for in this month’s T20 World Cup.
1. Gerhard Erasmus, Namibia – Age: 27
One of the most technically-gifted batters in Associate cricket, Namibian captain Gerhard Erasmus possesses all the shots in the book. He averages an impressive 43.05 and 34.33 with the bat in ODIs and T20Is respectively, since assuming the captaincy in 2019. Still only 27 years of age, Erasmus has been involved with the Namibian men’s team for the better part of twelve years after making his senior team debut as a fresh faced 16-year-old in 2011.
Of late, the affable Namibian has suffered from an unlucky spate of injuries, breaking bones in his hand on two separate occasions. This is on top of a broken finger that he sustained in a warmup game at last year’s T20 World Cup. Encouragingly, the injuries have not affected his batting; Erasmus has struck a golden vein of form with scores of 27, 87, 68 and 49 in recent Cricket World Cup League 2 action against USA and PNG.
He leads a talented Namibian squad making their second appearance at the T20 World Cup in as many years. Grouped alongside Sri Lanka, Netherlands and United Arab Emirates in the first round, Namibia will look to target the latter two for wins and qualify for the Super 12 stage.
Fun Fact: In 2019, Gerhard Erasmus graduated with a law degree from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. When not playing cricket, he chips in with work at his father’s law firm ‘Francois Erasmus & Partners’.