'So does Afghanistan...': Aakash Chopra explains Namibia's 'biggest hurdle' after T20 World Cup opener win vs Sri Lanka

Oct 16, 2022 04:58 PM IST

Former cricketer Aakash Chopra took to Twitter to explain Namibia's ‘biggest hurdle’ after the Gerhard Erasmus-led side defeated Sri Lanka in their T20 World Cup opener.

Underdogs Namibia sealed a massive victory against Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup opener at the GMHBA Stadium in South Geelong, on Sunday. In what shocked cricket fans around the world, the Gerhard Erasmus-led side thrashed the 2022 Asia Cup champions by 55 runs. Namibia, who are also an ICC associate nation, received plenty of praise from former cricketers and fans after the match. Former India batter Aakash Chopra also joined the bandwagon but had a different perspective on the situation. The commentator stated that although Namibia have recorded a huge win, it could have no meaning due to a lack of exposure for associate nations.

Namibia defeated Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup opener.(AP)
Namibia defeated Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup opener.(AP)

Taking to Twitter, he wrote, "While appreciating and applauding Namibian victory, please make a ‘note to self’ that you will champion the cause of associate nations once the World Cup gets over too. The biggest hurdle in their growth is the lack of exposure…which can’t happen till they get to play more 1/n".

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"They’ll get to play against major Test teams if only the BIG teams become inclusive. It’s alright fans etc. celebrating their victories (upsets have their own sense of romanticism) but the onus of their growth isn’t in their own hands. Namibia impressed in the last T20 WC too 2/n".

Chopra went on to give the example of Afghanistan, who have always caught everyone's attention during World Cups, but have hardly played against big teams after or before such tournaments. He explained, "So does Afghanistan every time they play. But do you ask how many T20i they played against the BIG teams since the last World Cup?? Leave aside Associate Nations for a bit…even Test teams like AFG and Bangladesh have never played a T20i in Aus. And they’re here to compete??? 3/n".

He concluded, "Give them more games. Play more tri-nation series. Involve them. If you really want the game to grow (and that’s imperative for your own growth-sustainability too), you ought to start remembering that these teams exist outside of the World Cups too. Ends."

Defending a target of 164 runs, Namibia bowled out Sri Lanka for 108 in 19 overs. The Namibian bowlers were in fantastic form, with David Wiese, Bernard Scholtz, Ben Shikongo and Jan Frylinck taking two wickets each respectively. Meanwhile, JJ Smit bagged a dismissal.

Initially, an unbeaten knock of 31 runs off 16 balls by Smit helped Namibia post 163 for seven in 20 overs. Meanwhile, Frylinck also played a crucial knock of 44 runs off 28 balls. Pramod Madushan bagged two wickets for Sri Lanka.

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