After reading up on their squad, I realized that they have 4 players in their side who have played first class cricket, and 2 were even in the recent game against UAE, with David Botha making a century.
The other 2, Sean Silver and van der Westhuzen, have played the first class games against SA provincial opposition, and Sean Silver, who is 17, did quite well against one of them.
They are in the same group as Nepal, Aus and Sri. So far, we have only focussed on Nepal as having a chance to cause an upset….. maybe we should not discount Namiabia either.
Btw, if they beat Nepal, would that be an upset? 🙂
This is the 3rd game in the last one month when Namibia folded meekly in their first innings, then fouhgt back with the ball, and the second innings total was commendable. However, this time around it was a one man show, as after Snyman, who is 194*, the next highest score in Namibia’s second innings is 13.
The result is a little odd given that UAE beat Namibia in Namibia a month ago, and also given that Namibia were dismissed so cheaply on Day 1. But it has been probably the best intercontinental game for a while.
For, UAE, despite the fact that they back their born and bred players these days, what cannot be ignored is that what keeps them even at this level are the expat players. Even in this game, Khurram Khan both with bat and ball, and Saqib Ali. The interesting thing is of course that Fahad Al Hashmi, not just born and bred, but an Arab, was the highest wicket taker in the first innings.
I am not all too well aware of SA’s franchise system, but I think that this essentially means that Zim, who were playing at the SAA provincial level, will now be playing at a higher level, at least for the one day league.
Btw…. if the Franchise has 6 franchise players, then are only 5 Zimbabweans going to play in this Zim team? Or are some of the Zim players also considered to be franchise players now? I think that a couple of them, Taibu and Taylor, are definitely SA franchise standard.
I initially thought that this is also the way forward for other neighbouring SA countries, like Namibia. But I read now that this was done specifically due to ICC’s request to provide better standard of play for Zim.
After Netherlands beat Bermuda by an innings, I dont think anyone was expecting any improvements from Bermuda……
I think Bermuda v Namibia, and Bermuda v UAE will be the ones to watch. I am expecting that if the current state of affairs persists, Bermuda is likely to end up at the bottom end of the pile. Maybe vs UAE, Bermuda will come out on tops ….. but under the current circumstances, I think Namibia is the true deserver of the 6th top associate spot.
Both Denmark and Namibia have been added to the High Performance Program by the ICC. 2 more teams will be added, but they will NOT be from Asia, and will be chosen from the WCQS Div 5 next year. It seems at the momment that Uganda and PNG might be the forerunners to get those 2 spots.
I am a bit surprised at the ACC decision that the asian teams should not be part of the global HPP, but rather ACC will take care of them itself. I am sure that they are likely to contribute less money towards ICC HPP as a result of this. More of a decentralized approach. The reason why I am surprised is becuase I think UAE/ Nepal/ Afghanistan would have benefitted more playing in the global HPP instead of one between each other, especially since Afghanistan actually does not even play in the ACC premier league. UAE keeps getting these games against weaker teams in the ACC region, and ends up losing to Namibia within 2 days. ICC HPP would have been the way to go for them, not sticking to ACC.
So, what does getting incorporated into HPP mean?? Well, for one thing, more funding. How much is a good question. Perhaps a one time investment of $500K? That was the amount given to the top 6 HPP countries last year, but that may have had the additional amount for the qualification for the WC 2007. I am not sure about the exact amount at the momment, but it looks like Namibia will benefit a lot due to the $500K or so transalting into a lot of money in their economy.
The HPP Training Camp in Pretoria is another advantage. This has been helping players a lot.
The 3rd thing is the calender. It will depend upon what kind of a calender the ICC can create for these teams. African region can benefit a lot if Uganda also gets through, because then there will be Kenya, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Namibia, all from that region and they can play a lot of cricket with each other. Perhaps, since the number will only be increased to 10 total teams, and 2 of them are already in the intercontinental cup, the other 2 may end up in the Intercontinental cup as well, which opens up a lot of touring possibilities. I was thinking that perhaps Namibia has missed a trick in the current SA/India series but not getting a warm up game against India. With their current performance in the SA domestic, they may have warranted a game, at least as a warm up for India.
The coaches are never provided by ICC to HPP countries. But the additional funding always helps in getting a better coach. However, the ICC did a few training sessions for the coaches of HPP countries, with which the new countries would benefit.
The main thing is the calender, and then the amount of funding. A stable calender will help the country finding domestic sponsors. ICC pays for the international tickets of the tours that it sponsors, so that takes away a chunk of the costs. It all depends upon how these 4 teams will be incorporated in the HPP calender for the top 6.
If someone can think of other advantages of being in the ICC’s HPP, please share.
Namibia’s recent routing of UAE by an innings and 149 runs, from memory being the most one sided 4 day Intercontinental cup match between 2 teams of consecutive ‘rank’, opens up a number of questions.
For one thing, the UAE team was a full team. All their expats were playing, including Shadeep Silva who I forgot to mention in my previous entry, someone who was ending up with 3-4 wickets in each of the ACC Trophy games. The difference in standard seems to be too much between the top associates and the rest, and UAE would be left asking questions about the value of playing in the ACC Premier league.
UAE is one of the few associate countries that not only boasts test standard facilities, but also has the money to host other associates for tours, irrespective of the stands being empty and the game not having any public interest over there. They should make their own itenerary, not relying on what ICC does for them, and go ahead and schedule tours from Namibia and the HPP countries.
The second thing that I would like to mention is that it looks like Nepal didnt do so badly against Namibia if the UAE crumbled agaisnt them the way they did. Nepal also had the disadvantage of playing IN Namibia. One would need to monitor Namibia’s performance IN UAE to see whether the difference was basically because of conditions. On slow, low, spinning tracks, Shadeep Silva and the likes may be unplayable for Namibian players. I believe that there is a return tour scheduled (or did that get converted into the current UAE tour of Namibia instead). But at least Nepal should be happy that they gave a better account of themselves than UAE are doing at the momment.
Match fitness may be a huge factor. Namibians have been playing in the South African provincial tournament for both the 3 day and the 1 day championships. UAe have also been playing in the ACC Premier league, but I dont think the standards compare well.
ACC would be better advised to stop making UAE play with weaker teams in the region, or at least compliment that with some games from Bangladesh A or Sri Lanka A. UAE has been the strongest team in the region below test level for 10 years now, and it seems that all that is happenning in Asia is that more and more countries are playing the game (not really, but at least technically) while the standard is either stagnant or relatively going down. UAE beat Namibia in the ICC Trophy in 2005, but looks like Namibia have taken the ‘missing Bermuda game’ to heart and are now out to reclaim their spot. Bermuda/ Canada would be hard pressed to retain their ODI status if Namibia keep on improving like this and keep on getting experienced like this.