Karnataka arrive for 50-over series

Namibia’s national cricket team, the Richelieu Eagles will be back in action this weekend when they take on Indian state side Karnataka in a five-match 50-over series. 

At a press conference in Windhoek yesterday, where Airlink was also announced as Cricket Namibia’s airline partner, Johan Muller CEO of CN said they were looking forward to hosting the series, which will take place at the Trustco United Sport Ground in Windhoek. 

“We are excited to host an Indian team. Indian teams rarely travel, Indian players are not committed to play T20 cricket outside of India. So already that that shows you that it’s quite scarce that these type of series’ occur,” he said. 

Muller also gave some background on how the relationship with Karnataka developed. 

“It’s been long time coming – we’re very good partners with Twenty First Century Media who are our agents in India and one of the biggest sports marketing brands in India. Through quite a number of deliberations we’ve built an agreement with the state Karnataka which is one of the top cricket states in India, from the southern part of India, and it’s great that we were able to formalise a relationship where we can attract them to come and play in Namibia,” he said. 

“We need to be very cognizant of the fact that India is the biggest cricket market in in the world with 1,3 billion people and all of them are cricket fans. So it’s great to attract a team from India to play at home and show them a bit of Namibia as well, and hopefully keep building relationships and ties with the Indian market,” he added. 

The Karnataka visit follows in the footsteps of the Pakistani Qaalandars who toured Namibia last year to compete in the Global T20 series, and Muller said they will return in September. 

“Yes, the Global T20 tournament will continue in September and the Qalandars will be back for that as well as the Lions from South Africa, and we’re looking for a fourth side to to make it a nice quadrangular. They won the Pakistan Super League again this year, so they’re the best franchise team in Pakistan, while Karnataka are one of the best in India and the Lions are one of the best in South Africa,” Muller said. 

“We want to keep on playing these type of teams, even though they come from full member countries with a lot of cricket depth, where there’s thousands of quality players, so the competition will be really good and it will also help us to keep on preparing against some of the best players in the world. We we don’t always have the opportunities to play against full members and in the Cricket World League 2, we keep on playing the same opposition. So it’s really good for us to to play against different skills,” he added. 

Muller said Karnataka had assembled a strong side. 

“They don’t have any Indian national players who are currently contracted, but they’ve got three players that played in the recent Indian Premier League. Two of their bowlers had to stay home to be net bowlers for India in their upcoming series against Australia, but besides that, it’s the strongest team that they currently have,” he said, although he added that Namibia will give a good account of itself,” he said. 

“We always back ourselves, but we need to to be very honest in saying that there’s a lot of quality players in India and one of their best state teams is possibly a better team that we would normally face in our competition. So it’ll be interesting to see the match up, but we’ll always back our players,” he added. 

The Namibian squad was also announced yesterday, which shows a few changes from the last one that competed at ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifying Playoff tournament in Windhoek in March. 

Top all-rounder Jan Frylinck makes a return after recovering from injury, while opening batter Stephan Baard has been recalled to the squad. 

WHS Old Boys top-order batter Gerhard Janse van Rensburg and United allrounder Handre Klazinga have been called up to the national squad for the first time, while Welwitschias’ young seam bowler Tangi Nuuyoma makes the squad for the second time following his debut against Uganda last year. 

The Namibian squad is as follows:

Gerhard Erasmus (captain), Stephen Baard, Niko Davin, Gerhard Janse van Rensburg, Michael van Lingen, Shaun Fouche, Michau du Preez, Zane Green, Jan Frylinck, Karl Birkenstock, Helao Ya France, Bernard Scholtz, Tangi Nuuyoma, Ben Shikongo, and Handre Klazinga.

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