The Namibian women’s cricket team is gearing up for a busy 2021, beginning with a home series against Zimbabwe in January.
The Namibian women’s cricket team is set to take on their next-door rivals Zimbabwe in four T20 internationals and three 50-over games between January 11 and 20, 2021. The matches will take place at Sparta Cricket Oval, in the coastal town of Walvis Bay.
These matches are a godsend to the Namibians, who had been going through an international fixture drought due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their last competitive fixtures were in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in September 2019, where the Namibians finished a disappointing last place after losing all their group stage and playoff games.
However, new women’s coach Francois van der Merwe is bullish about their prospects. Speaking to New Era Live, van der Merwe stressed the importance of winning the series and further outlined the gruelling preparation that awaits the women cricketers. It involves the players facing each other in about 25 matches, followed by a three-week training camp during which they will fine-tune their batting and bowling skills.
All-rounder Arrasta Diergaardt is looking forward to a busy 2021 and stated that team morale is running high.
‘We are not under pressure at all. We are just working on our skills and fitness levels. We have been playing together for quite a while now, so we are well acquainted with one another,’ Diergaardt said.
Cricket Namibia have been investing in women’s cricket recently and have concrete plans in place to develop it over the next two years. 2021 is shaping up to be a busy season. After the Zimbabwe clash, they are set to tour Botswana, Kenya and Rwanda for further matches.
It must be noted that the Zimbabwean women are returning to competitive action after an even longer break. They were unable to participate in the World Cup Qualifiers due to suspension from the International Cricket Council (ICC). The ICC had taken action after finding evidence of undue government interference in Zimbabwe’s cricket affairs.
Cricket Namibia Schools Week and Awards
In other interesting news, Cricket Namibia are in the throes of conducting a National School Week. The event is a continuation of the cricket body’s efforts to grow the game amongst youth. As per their official statement, the National School Week aims to give every school-going child in the country the opportunity to play cricket as well as allowing for equal opportunities and transparency to all stakeholders.
The tournament is divided into 4 age categories: U-11, U-13, U-16 and U-19. There have been several eye catching feats such as Tiaan van der Merwe’s 215 runs off 160 balls and 78 runs of 87 balls on Days 1 and 2 respectively at the U-11 level. On Day 3 at the U-19 level, standout performances included Alexander Volschenk’s 111 runs off 89 balls and Dirk Theunissen’s 6-24 from 8 overs.
Last but not the least, the Cricket Namibia Awards for 2020 were handed out a couple of weeks ago. The ceremony was attended by government officials including the Minister of Sport Agnes Tjongarero as well as famous ex-players like Doctor Rudi van Vuuren.
The key award recipients were current Namibian captain Gerhard Erasmus and Irene van Zyl who took out the National Men’s and Women’s Player of the Year Award respectively. While, the most improved men and women player awards were won by Karl Birkenstock and Adri van der Merwe.