Namibia: Cricketers Adapt to Change

NAMIBIA'S cricket team has adapted to the changing environment brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and are stepping up preparations for the 2020 T20 World Cup.

Since stage 2 of the lockdown exit plan was announced this month, allowing training subject to certain restrictions, the national squad has made use of new technology to create a virtual training environment at Wanderers sports grounds.

With national coach Pierre de Bruyn and consultant Albie Morkel still stuck in Tshwane, South Africa, different communication platforms have been set up.

"We've been using Zoom and WhatsApp, so the coaches can see batsmen and bowlers in action. They can see the entire session and communicate with the players in real time afterwards," chief executive officer of Cricket Namibia Johan Muller said last week.

During stage 1 of the lockdown the players worked mainly on strength and conditioning from home, and Muller said they are in fine shape.

"They have adapted to training from home and did a lot of body weight exercises. I'd say they are fitter now than they were before the lockdown. Their skills might have dropped a bit, but they will pick that up quickly," he said.

"So this online programme will be our normal for the next six weeks until the beginning of July," he said.

Some of Namibia's warm-up tournaments for the World Cup have been postponed, but Muller said they are in contact with the International Cricket Council to reschedule them.

"At this stage it's still uncertain when we will start playing again, but we hope to be physically ready when we do. We will train on a daily basis until the beginning of July," he said.

National coach Pierre de Bruyn said he is impressed with the new set-up.

"We started with one device, but now we already have three, which is excellent for us to be connected, while Albie and Jan Frylinck in Langebaan are also connected.

"We must make the best of our situation and we have the technology, so this method could be used a lot more in future," he said.

Pace bowler Frylinck has remained in Langebaan where he is recuperating from a shoulder injury.

"Jan Frylinck had an operation to his shoulder, but should be ready by September. Zhivago Groenewald, who had a knee injury, should also be ready, as well as Nicol Lofty-Eaton, who had a foot problem," Muller said.

De Bruyn said an intense training period lay ahead.

"June will be an intense training period because we need to improve our skills and will have to adapt to more game situations very quickly . . . I think we are actually ahead of a lot of countries with our training up to the World Cup, but we have to remain two steps ahead," he said.

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