ICC Media Release
Making the adjustments needed to convert good performances in multi-day cricket into the shorter format of the limited-overs game will be the biggest challenge facing Namibia in this year's ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, according to captain Louis Burger.
Burger led his side to the final of the four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup last year, losing in a thriller to Ireland in Port Elizabeth. But while few sides were able to live with the likes of Kola Burger, Gerrie Snyman and Louis Klazinga in that format, the south-west Africans have struggled to replicate that dominant form when the number of overs is restricted to 50 per side.
'The four-day format is good because you play a lot of cricket without the same pressure on you. When batting you have plenty of time and with the ball there tends to be a wider margin of error,' said 31-year-old Burger.
'We are playing in the South African amateur tournament which means we play a three-day game followed by a one-day game so we have been getting good practice in both formats.
'There are a few adjustments to be made from one to the other and also with the conditions. The shorter format puts a bit more pressure on you but everyone is adapting well. I think it's important we make that adjustment when it really matters. If we can, I don't think there's any reason why we cannot make the top four of this tournament and get on our way to the World Cup.
'At the moment our preparations are going very well. Playing in that tournament in South Africa has been good for us. The mood in the squad is very good, everyone is excited and looking forward to the competition,' he said.
Having been a beaten finalist in this tournament in 2001 (it was then known as the ICC Trophy), Namibia knows what it's like to take part in the ICC Cricket World Cup. Four years later it just lost out on qualification for the 2007 event in the West Indies so Burger is very keen to turn that fortune around and sample that World Cup experience again in 2011.
'I suppose every team thinks it should get a place in the top four and we feel the same. We work very hard and were very upset not to make the previous World Cup. We have worked hard again this time and on the day it will just depend on who has practiced the most, who works hard or who wants it the most.
'There are plenty of good teams. Everyone deserves a place there but unfortunately only four can get there. It's our job to make sure Namibia is one of those four,' said the all-rounder.
'Cricket in Namibia is very small compared to all the other countries. We only have six premier league teams in the country playing against each other. So development is a very high priority here and the extra money that qualification would bring in through the ICC would help players develop and give a real incentive to younger players to come through the system and stay in Namibia rather than going away to study or work in other countries.
'So, the financial implication is probably the most vital aspect of qualification but the exposure that comes with playing at a World Cup, the experience of playing against the top teams and playing One-Day Internationals are also important.'
Namibia (squad): Louis Burger (captain), Raymond van Schoor, JB Burger, Sarel Burger, Gerrie Snyman, Craig Williams, LP van der Westhuizen, Nicolaas Scholtz, Deon Kotze, Bjorn Kotze, Ian van Zyl, Louis Klazinga, Tobie Verwey, Bernard Scholtz, Hendrik Marx.