Ben Shikongo, Namibia – Age: 21
Hailing from the village of Ongombesa, in the remote far-north of Namibia, 21 year old Ben Shikongo is a trailblazer in many ways. The skiddy right-arm pacer broke into the national Under-19 team at the tender age of 16 and made his senior debut a couple of years later. He is one of only a handful players of colour to have ever represented Namibia at the international level, despite black Namibians making up 87% of the total population.
Shikongo however is keen to break the mould and will be looking to make the World Cup starting XI in a competitive Namibian squad. His T20I numbers so far bear justice to his talent and potential (12 wickets at an average of 14.91 and an economy rate under 6). With Cricket Namibia making special efforts to improve participation and accessibility through rural areas, Shikongo’s success could well inspire a new generation of black Namibian athletes to take up cricket as a sport.
Fun Fact: Growing up, Shikongo had to overcome immense pressure from his family and friends who thought that playing cricket was a “waste of time” and that he should concentrate on football instead.
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