Namibian cricket has been dealt some heavy blows in the last few days. With the postponement of both the Men’s T20 World Cup and the Namibian leg of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2, it is safe to say the men’s national team’s schedule has been heavily disrupted.
Namibia qualified for a World Cup for the first time in 17 years and when talking asked about the decisions to postpone fixtures Cricket Namibia’s CEO Johan Muller was frank in his assessment of the situation. Speaking with local paper The Namibian, Muller said: ‘It’s obviously a big disappointment, but we were also prepared for it because of the COVID-19 situation. The players had been training till now and preparing as if the World Cup would go ahead, so it’s quite an emotional thing for them and a huge disappointment because they have been working so hard”.
However, this does not mean that the Namibian team are stopping their preparations. Both Cricket Namibia and the team are still striving to improve and develop as both a collective and individuals.
Muller went on to explain that the team’s focus now moves onto the preparation for the upcoming tour of the UAE in December. However, there are also plans being made to reschedule the tours that had already been postponed. On top of the Namibian leg of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 needing to be arranged, there is also the need to reschedule matches against Scotland and Nepal which were to take place in Namibia during April 2020. Alongside this, there was another CWCL2 series to take place in Scotland against the same nations in July 2020.
The head coach of the Men’s national side Pierre de Bruyn has also expressed his disappointment at the postponement but admitted that it was a predictable situation; saying that he the squad were able to make ‘peace’ with the decision about a month prior to the official announcements. But de Bruyn said that he and his team need to look ahead and start preparing for what promises to be a ‘very busy’ 2021 and an ‘extremely important’ 2022. 2022 will mark the next set of World Cup Qualifiers prior to the 2023 tournament, scheduled to take place in India, but also de Bruyn expects there to be some rearranged ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 fixtures also taking place that year.
Despite international postponements, Cricket Namibia has been actively reforming a variety of different areas of their domestic system including the launch of a new youth tournament, new transformation targets and the launching of the first-ever women’s cricket tournament. The disruption to the international calendar does not take away from the work being done within the country and de Bruyn insists that Cricket Namibia must continue to ‘be very active’ in the planning of local cricket ensure that the governing body reaches their targets. de Bruyn believes that the cancellations may actually allow for a greater focus on the domestic cricket scene in the country and its pathways to allow for the designing and running of more internal tournaments.
The disappointment of the postponements may have been large, but Cricket Namibia and the team’s national players appear to remain focussed on the future. The national team, whilst continuing their training for their upcoming fixtures, also have been developing their media skills. With the team gaining more and more media exposure, the men’s national team recently underwent a media training day. Under the tutelage of Wesley Vries, a Senior Producer for the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation, the team underwent an extensive training day. The team were able to practice interviewing skills and techniques but also were given training regarding crisis communication, social media management, brand management, press conferences, sponsorship & brand ambassadorships and how to portray the Eagles’ brand positively.
Cricket Namibia is making the best of an unfortunate situation. Despite the disappointment, the ability to focus on the country’s domestic game may actually benefit cricket in the country both for the short and long term.
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