Namibia Brace for First-Ever T20i Series Against Zim

NAMIBIA have named a strong squad for their first ever T20 International cricket series against Zimbabwe set for Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo starting next week.

The Namibians, who are still riding high in confidence following their historic feat at the last ICC T20 World Cup 2021, have maintained faith in their personnel led by their 27-year-old skipper Gerhard Erasmus.

They have also included in their squad tried and tested players like David Wiese, Ruben Trumpelmann, Jan Frylinck, JJ Smit and Bernard Scholtz and Craig Williams, who is the oldest member at 38 years.

This team is generally regarded as the Golden Generation of Namibian cricket and has been in ascendancy over the last few years.

Namibia have mostly played Associate nations and are excited by the opportunity to play Zimbabwe.

Cricket Namibia confirmed the Richelieu Eagles are expected to arrive in Bulawayo this Sunday.

They will play five T20I's starting from next Tuesday, with the last match to be played on May 24. The Richelieu Eagles started the year off with a lot of game time playing in the domestic Richelieu T20 Franchise, hosting Ireland A-side and then finally hosted the Ugandans. They won the series 2-1.

"Cricket Namibia is excited to have the Richelieu Eagles play against a full member country like the Zimbabwe national men's team to improve in their T20I rankings.

"With the ICC Men's T20 World Cup coming up later this year in October, this will also be a great platform for Namibia to measure themselves against a good side in preparation for the upcoming T20 World Cup," said Cricket Namibia in a statement.

Namibia played with the big boys for the first time at the last ICC T20 World Cup and made history by reaching the second round after finishing behind Sri Lanka in their group, which also had Ireland and Netherlands.

Zimbabwe missed the T20 World Cup after they were ruled out of the qualifiers because of a ban by the International Cricket Council.

The Namibian team finished fourth at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier to qualify for the 2021 ICC Men's T20 World Cup.

The Eagles subsequently recorded their first World Cup victories, defeating the Netherlands and Ireland in the first round of the tournament to progress to the Super 12 stage, where they made another historic win when they beat Scotland by four wickets.

They also played Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and eventual T20 World Cup runners-up New Zealand in the Super 12 between October and November.

They finally settled for an overall 10th place finish, out of 16.

Namibia's cricket team are currently ranked 16th in the ICC T20I rankings, while Zimbabwe are 11th. Zimbabwe last played Scotland in T20I cricket last year in September during the tour of the UK and won the series 2-1.

For Zimbabwe, apart from the ODI series in Sri Lanka at the beginning of the year, the Chevrons have largely been inactive in the last few months and are set to return to international cricket next week with the games against Namibia.

The series comes hot on the heels of the recent tour by South Africa A and the visit to Nepal by the Zimbabwe 'A' side.

Unfortunately, the Zimbabwe XI lost both the one day and T20 series at Harare Sports Club to their South African counterparts while the Zimbabwe 'A' team drew the T20 series against Nepal before going down 1-2 in the one-dayers.

The selectors will use the performances to assemble the Chevrons side which will host the Namibians for 10 days and play five T20I matches starting next Tuesday.

That series will be followed by Afghanistan's arrival for three ODI matches and five T20Is at Harare Sports Club next month.

The ODIs against Afghanistan - scheduled for June 12, 14 and 17 - are part of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League, a 13-team competition serving as the main route for qualification for the 2023 edition of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup to be staged in India.

The two nations will then engage in five T20I matches leading up to the ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier 2022 set for July.

Namibia Squad

Divan la Cock; Craig Williams; Nicol Loftie Eaton; Gerhard Erasmus; JJ Smit; David Wiese; Ruben Trumpelmann; Jan Frylinck; Bernard Scholtz; Tangeni Lungameni; Helao Ya France; Michael van Lingen; Ben Shikongo; Zane Green

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