Wednesday, April 9, 2008

In The International Spotlight...Namibia Cricket

The Namibia national cricket team is the team that represents the country of Namibia in international cricket matches. They have been an associate member of the International Cricket Council since 1992 and became part of the High Performance Program in 2007. They took part in the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa, though they lost all their games. They have played in each edition of the ICC Intercontinental Cup.


The first mention of cricket being played in what is now Namibia was a match played between South African soldiers and locals near Otjiwarongo in 1915 shortly after the occupying Germans had surrendered to the South African troops. The outcome of World War I left South Africa as the holder of the League of Nations mandate holder for the region, now renamed South-West Africa.

South Africans moving into the country meant that more and more cricket clubs began to be formed, but it was not until 1954 when the South-West Africa representative side first played, playing Liesbeek Park, a club side from Cape Town. They first played away from home in December 1958 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The South-West Africa team, whilst never formally being part of the then South Africa Cricket Union, played at low levels of South Africa domestic cricket for many years until 1989, when in June of that year, in the run up to the first Namibian elections the new Namibian Cricket Board refused an invitation to play in South Africa that season, instead opting to arrange a two match tour of Botswana in December. This team played two matches against Botswana, winning both easily.

The independence celebrations of 21 March 1990 saw Gloucestershire County Cricket Club play the Namibian national side in a series of matches, with the Namibians winning three times against their professional opponents. The Netherlands toured Namibia the following month and were unbeaten on the tour. Namibia toured Zimbabwe later in the year.

The following year saw the Marylebone Cricket Club visit, captained by former England Test player Paul Parker. They won the three-day match against Namibia by an innings and twenty runs, but the main point of the tour was a fact finding mission for the ICC, as the Namibian Cricket Board had applied for associate membership of that organisation, which was achieved in 1992.

In 1994, Namibia competed for the first time in the ICC Trophy, finishing in ninth place after beating Denmark in the plate final. Malaysia visited Namibia in 1995, drawing a three-day match and losing a one-day match. Italy were the visitors the following year, with Namibia winning the three-day match by an innings inside two days after scoring 510/4 in their only innings. They won the one-day match just as easily. Namibia began to play in the second tier of South African domestic cricket again the same year.

Namibia played in the 1997 ICC Trophy in Malaysia, finishing 15th after beating the hosts in the 15th place play-off match. Denmark toured Namibia the following year, losing in the one-day game and drawing the three-day match.

The next major international action was in March 2000, when they visited Bangladesh for a triangular series also involving Malaysia. Namibia were joint winners with Bangladesh of the rain affected event. The MCC toured Namibia the following March, and Namibia won the five match series of one-day games 3-1, with one match abandoned. Scotland toured in April, drawing the two match one-day series.

The road to the 2003 Cricket World Cup started with the 2001 ICC Trophy in Canada. Namibia reached the final at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club, losing to the Netherlands, but still qualifying for their first World Cup. Namibia then hosted the ICC 6 Nations Challenge in April 2002, finishing fourth. They had a disappointing Africa Cup campaign that September, finishing fourth in their group and beating only Tanzania, and lost four matches against Zimbabwe A a few weeks later. A tour of Kenya subsequent to the Zimbabwean tour was more successful, as Namibia beat Kenya in a four match one-day series. Following this, Namibia took part in the top level of South African domestic one-day cricket, the Standard Bank Cup, but lost all five of their games. Bangladesh toured in January 2003, winning the five match one-day series 4-1.

The World Cup itself started on 10 February 2003 in Harare with Zimbabwe beating Namibia by 86 runs. Back in South Africa, they lost to Pakistan by 171 runs, before a 55 run defeat at the hands of England in which Namibia performed with some credit, Jan-Berrie Burger winning the man of the match award for his innings of 85 that almost helped Namibia pull off an unlikely upset. They were then brought crashing back down to earth by a 181 run loss to India and a 256 run defeat against Australia, the eventual winners of the tournament, in what at the time was the biggest winning margin in One Day Internationals, since surpassed by an Indian 257 run win over Bermuda. The tournament finished with a 64 run loss to fellow qualifiers the Netherlands.

In August 2003, Zimbabwe A toured Namibia. Namibia won the one-day series 2-1, but lost both three-day games. A return visit to Zimbabwe the following January saw Namibia win a five match one-day series against Zimbabwe A 4-1, also winning a match against Zimbabwe Under-19s. Bangladesh toured Namibia in February, winning all three one-day games and drawing the three-day game. Following this, Namibia travelled to the United Arab Emirates for the ICC 6 Nations Challenge. They finished third on run rate after beating Canada, the Netherlands and the UAE and losing to Scotland and the USA. Namibia played two ICC Intercontinental Cup matches against Kenya and Uganda in 2004, losing them both. In between the two matches, they took part in an African nations tournament in Zambia which they won. Later in the year they took part in Zimbabwe's national one-day domestic competition, in which they finished as runners-up. Whilst in Zimbabwe, they won two matches against the national side. This was followed by a visit to Namibia by England, who won both matches.

Zimbabwe A again visited Namibia in early 2005, losing both one-day matches that finished. Pakistan A were the next visitors in April, winning all three one-day matches and drawing in the three-day game. This was followed by their two regional group games in the 2005 ICC Intercontinental Cup. Whilst they were unbeaten, winning against Uganda and drawing against Kenya, this was not enough to qualify them for the semi-finals. They then visited Ireland to take part in the 2005 ICC Trophy. They finished 7th after beating Denmark in their final play-off game. Back at home, they hosted New Zealand at the end of July, losing both games, but performing admirably in the first, losing by only 29 runs after conceding 330/6. In October of that year, they hosted the semi-finals of the Intercontinental Cup, despite failing to qualify. While the final was being played, they played a two match one-day series against Bermuda after they had been knocked out of the tournament, winning both games, but the games were tarnished by controversial incidents, with the Bermuda team accusing the Namibian team of racist insults, and walking off in the second game when a flurry of bouncers were unleashed at the lower order Bermuda batsmen. The Namibian Cricket Board denied the allegations of racism.

In March 2006, Namibia met Nepal in a challenge match to decide who got the eighth and final spot in the 2006 ICC Intercontinental Cup. The match was drawn, with Namibia getting a first innings lead, thus qualifying them for the main tournament. The main tournament itself started badly with an innings defeat by Scotland in Aberdeen before a five wicket defeat by Ireland in Dublin, both matches in May. In the 2006-07 South African cricket season, Namibia took part in the second tier of first-class and List A cricket, the South African Airways Challenge. They finished second in their group in the three-day tournament and third in their group in the one-day tournament, missing out on reaching the semi-finals by one win. In the midst of the matches in those tournaments, they played their third and final 2006 Intercontinental Cup match, beating the UAE by an innings. On 1 April 2007, they became part of the ICC's High Performance Program.


World Cup:
Namibia were not eligible for the Cricket World Cup between 1975 and 1992 as they were not a member of the ICC at the time.

1996: Did not qualify
1999: Did not qualify
2003: First round
2007: Did not qualify

Intercontinental Cup:
2004: First round
2005: First round
2006: First round

ICC 6 Nations Challenge:
2000: Did not participate
2002: 4th place
2004: 3rd place

ICC Trophy:
Namibia did not play in the ICC Trophy between 1979 and 1990 as they were not a member of the ICC at the time.

1994: 9th place - Won Plate competition
1997: 15th place
2001: Runners up
2005: 7th place

Namibia are again to take part in the second tier of South African domestic cricket between October 2007 and February 2008. They will play a 2007-08 ICC Intercontinental Cup match against Canada in October 2007, playing the remaining games against Bermuda, Ireland, Kenya, the Netherlands, Scotland and the UAE in 2008. In November/December 2007, they will host Division Two of the World Cricket League where they will play against Argentina, Denmark, Oman, the UAE and Uganda. A top four finish in this tournament will qualify them for the 2009 ICC World Cup Qualifier, whilst finishing in fifth or sixth place will mean that they will play in Division Three of the World Cricket League in 2009.

Links relating to Namibian Cricket:

  • A list of Namibian ODI cricketers can be found at: List of Namibian ODI cricketers.
  • For a list of players to have captained Namibia in international cricket, see: Namibian national cricket captains

    Lennie Louw is the only Namibian player to have played first-class or List A cricket for teams other than Namibia.

  • Namibia Cricket at
  • History of Namibian cricket
  • MCC in Namibia 2000/01 at Cricket Archive
  • Namibia players at Cricket Archive

    *Acknowledgements to, and owners of pictures and videos used

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