Kola Burger and Stefan Swanepoel were notable omissions from Namibia’s national cricket team for the World Cup qualifiers which was announced on Friday evening. Burger and Swanepoel both made themselves unavailable for selection, the latter due to work commitments and the former, seemingly after falling out with the selectors.
Burger last played for Namibia in their three-day match against Northerns in January, but was dropped for the subsequent one-day match against Northerns on January 25.
Since then he has refused to play for the national team, despite several approaches from the national selectors.
Burger’s absence will be sorely missed as he has been one of Namibia’s star performers over the past year. He played a major role in Namibia’s progress to the final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup competition. He was the top wicket taker in the competition with 37 wickets at an average of 15,00, while he was one of only three Namibians selected for an ICC Intercontinental Cup team of the tournament.
Burger’s big hitting will also be missed as he has often rescued the team with some explosive innings’ down the order.
Swanepoel’s withdrawal is also disappointing as he could well have been the answer to Namibia’s opening batting problem. Besides Raymond van Schoor, none of Namibia’s other openers have been consistent, and Swanepoel, could have claimed this position. In his absence, Namibia will not have many options, with JB Burger and possibly LP van der Westhuizen the most likely candidates.
The rest of the team basically picked itself, with young off spinner Bernard Scholtz, wicketkeeper Tobie Verwey and medium pacer Hendrik Marx being late additions to the squad.
It is a well-balanced team with depth in batting and bowling, although its options at opening batsman seem to be limited.
Raymond van Schoor has been in great form but last year’s regular opener JB Burger has struggled lately. The selectors tried to use him further down the order but with Swanepoel’s withdrawal, there are not many other options for opener, and JB will probably have to be deployed in this position. The young LP van der Westhuizen was successfully used in this role against the British Combined Services over the past week, but it is doubtful whether he has the experience in this role for the World Cup qualifiers.
Namibia has a wealth of talent amongst the middle order batsmen, ranging from Sarel Burger, captain Louis Burger, Craig Williams and the irrepressible Gerrie Snyman. who is one of the most explosive batsmen in the world today.
The young LP van der Westhuizen has impressed lately both as a batsman and an economical off spinner, as has Nicolaas Scholtz. The Kotze brothers Deon and Bjorn add experience down the order, while Louis Klazinga is currently Namibia’s top strike bowler.
Namibia’s squad for the World Cup qualifiers:
Raymond van Schoor, JB Burger, Sarel Burger, Gerrie Snyman
Louis Burger (captain), Craig Williams, LP van der Westhuizen, Nicolaas Scholtz, Deon Kotze, Bjorn Kotze, Ian van Zyl, Louis Klazinga, Tobie Verwey, Bernard Scholtz, Hendrik Marx.
Non-travelling reserves: ST Ackerman, Pikkie ya France, Morne Engelbrecht.
Coach: Johan Rudolph
Manager: AB Louw
Technical Advisor: Eric Simons
Psychologist: Dawn Saunders
Physiotherapist: Alex Bragg