Netherlands, Namibia seek to hoist their flags high at 2021 T20 World Cup



Both teams also have a few South African names as they look to deflect the pressure ahead of the tournament’s first round

The T20 World Cup is all about victory, but Namibian Gerhard Erasmus and Dutchman Pieter Seelaar have argued over which team will fly further under the radar in order to deflect pressure from their teams ahead of the tournament’s first round.

Asked about the expectations associated with the associated countries eager to strike above their weight on the biggest stage, Seelaar placed the ball firmly in the court of the Group A favorites, saying: “Sri Lanka must pass; we want to pass, so that’s the difference, “before Erasmus intervenes,” Maybe I’ll take Pieter’s outsider tag and we’ll go with that. “

There was laughter all around, but in reality both captains are feeling the immense weight they are carrying ahead of what could be the most important week in many of their cricket careers.

The Netherlands have not qualified for any of the last two World Cups at 50 and have not reached the second round of the last T20 World Cup and want to rebuild their reputation as one of the “smallest” “strongest teams. Namibia have never been to a T20 World Cup and haven’t been at a major event since the 2003 World Cup and believe they can overtake those glory days almost two decades later.

“We had (2003 World Cup captain) Deon Kotze at our farewell event, who spoke to us with a lot of affection. He described us as a better team than theirs, which is a great honor, ”Erasmus said. “These are individuals we admire and guys who sparked something for us. They drew a line in the sand then and 18 years later, although it was too long for Cricket Namibia to taste, we have come back and I hope we can continue. “

Even though neither Erasmus nor Seelaar were ready to label themselves as the best in their country just yet, they both believe they have the ingredients to fly their flags high, even though some of their key components come from Besides. Besides, the same elsewhere.

The Netherlands headline former South African all-rounder Roelof van der Merwe and former Warriors player Colin Ackermann, whom Seelar referred to as two players who give them the advantage. “We have Colin Ackermann and Roelof van der Merwe – two guys who beat in the top six, who can also bowling,” he said.
And Namibia has a South African coaching team led by Pierre de Bruyn, with Albie Morkel as an assistant and Easterns coach Richard das Neves as a consultant. They will also provide an international debut for former South African all-rounder David Wiese, whose career as a T20 journeyman brings vast expertise to the group.

“Not only does he bring skills with the bat, the ball and on the pitch, but he’s been in a lot of tournaments and brings a lot of experience after playing around the world,” Erasmus said. “He was amazing with the fit in the locker room and he will only add value to this tournament.”

Although neither Namibia nor the Netherlands have played T20 cricket in the pandemic-hit year 2020, they are both reasonably happy with the recent preparation they have had, especially Namibia. “We were able to play a lot of cricket at home. When the winter came out we had to go get our own cricket. We managed to do it all over southern Africa,” Erasmus said.

Namibia hosted Uganda, an emerging Zimbabwean and South African team, and a South African national team, the Titans, which included test captain Dean Elgar and whom Namibia beat. “All of these teams brought different challenges. You can’t do anything better than play a lot of cricket matches, but we’ve got a little bit past the warm-ups now and can’t wait to go.”

Seelaar and his side feel the same. They won the qualifying event for this tournament almost two years ago and are eager to see if they can perform as well now as they did back then. On paper, they’re probably considered as likely as Ireland to qualify for the main draw, but Seelaar wasn’t going to go. “There is no clear favorite and no weak side,” he said, before having another little dig in Sri Lanka. “I wouldn’t say Sri Lanka is going to pass, they are going to have a hard time beating the three of us.”

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s correspondent in South Africa

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