Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus is hoping that playing the Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off on home soil will boost his side’s chances of featuring at this year’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.
A new-look Namibia team will get the Qualifier Play-off underway on Sunday when they host the USA at Wanderers Cricket Ground, with both sides chasing a top-two finish in the six-team tournament to keep their dream alive of reaching this year’s 50-over showcase.
Much of Namibia’s hopes will fall in the lap of Erasmus, with the inspirational skipper guiding a team that will be without the services of a host of experienced players that includes Jan Frylinck, JJ Smit and Tangeni Lungameni.
But Erasmus is confident he still has a well-balanced squad at his disposal and is looking to make an immediate impact in the first match of the tournament against the USA on Sunday.
“It’s great to welcome the teams to Namibia. We’ve got a decent record at home and hopefully if we play well, we can advance,” Erasmus said.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had a couple of unavailabilities and changes in our set up over the last six months. But we’ve got the best squad for the moment, and I’m excited for the guys growing into their roles.
“We’ll be looking to play our brand of cricket at the Wanderers ground to go hard and win the opener.”
The USA finished narrowly behind Namibia when ending up in fifth place during their recent ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 campaign, but will still be considered one of the outsiders to finish in the top two and earn a place at the Qualifier tournament in Zimbabwe in June.
While USA skipper Monank Patel knows his side still have plenty of areas they need to improve in, the reliable top-order batter is confident his charges can cause a surprise.
“After gaining ODI status in 2019, it’s been a great experience playing in the CWC League 2,” Patel said.
“I feel we have done reasonably well as a group playing ODI’s for the first time. It showed that we belong in this league but we still have lots of areas to improve. We would like to take that experience and ensure we do well in this event and progress to the Qualifiers in Zimbabwe.”
The USA are set to co-host the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup with the West Indies and Patel believes reaching the 50-over event later this year would prove a boon for the sport in his country.
“With the T20 World Cup set to be played on home soil next year, this is a great opportunity for USA to play in two World Cups within 12 months,” he added.
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