Namibia gear up for limited-overs Zimbabwe series ahead of busy 2021
Cricket will return back in Namibia as they look forward to hosting Zimbabwe in four T20Is and three ODIs in early next year in what will be head coach Francois van der Merwe’s first major international assignment between January 11 and 20. Namibia will also tour Botswana, Kenya and Rwanda next year.
All-rounder Arrasta Diergaardt said that the morale of the team is high as all the players are confident and determined to deliver their more than 100 per cent ahead in what has been billed as busy 2021. “We are not under pressure at all,” Diergaardt said. “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.”
The players have been put in through rigorous training by Van der Merwe and have also won against U-15 boys’ Windhoek Afrikaans Privaat Skool side ahead of the selection which will culminate with a three-week national camp.
The 44-year-old also wished to put the players through 25 matches within a span of one week adding that he was ‘looking at about nine games a day’. “Winning against Zimbabwe is important to us and we intend to field our best team on match-day,” said Van der Merwe, who took over the coaching role three months ago.
Diergaardt also stated that they aren’t taking Zimbabwe lightly. “Zimbabwe is our biggest rival in Africa, after South Africa, so this tournament is set to be one of our most competitive. Also, seeing that it will be one of our first for next year, we are going to use it to set the tone for the rest of the year,” the all-rounder added.
Bowler Irene van Zyl, who hogged the limelight at the Cricket Namibia National Awards last week, hailed the arrival of Van der Merwe as a blessing in disguise. “Ever since the new coach arrived we have been getting more game time. We literally play every weekend, which is good for the team’s fitness level,” Van Zyl said.