Minnow Namibia banks on Jumbo Keudlers vital effort

Published: Thursday, February 6, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Windhoek: He's known as Jumbo and the burly Danie Keulder will have to produce some mighty performances if unfancied Namibia is to enjoy any success in the World Cup. Keulder, 29, was Namibia's captain and outstanding batsman when the country enjoyed its finest cricketing hour, qualifying for the final of the 2001 ICC Trophy tournament in Toronto, Canada. Playing in his third ICC Trophy, the hard-hitting Keulder scored 366 runs in nine matches at an average of 45.75.

His most crucial innings was 104 against Scotland in what amounted to a semi-final. Outsiders Namibia went through to the final, guaranteeing themselves a place in the World Cup. Keulder has played more than 100 times for Namibia and made a highest score of 226 in a three-day match against Italy in 1996. He regards the century against Scotland as the highlight of his career and the defeat against Holland in the final two days later as the most disappointing moment.

Holland, with eight wickets down, scored three to win off the last ball after a fumble at fine leg. Keulder, who runs a cricket school in Windhoek with current captain Deon Kotze, is from Keetmanshoop in southern Namibia. He credits two imported coaches, South African Stephen Jones and former Sussex player Neil Lenham from England, for honing his ability. With the World Cup coming up, hosts and neighbours South Africa invited Namibia to play in its senior provincial Limited Overs competition, during the 2002/03 season.

It was heavily beaten in all five games. Keulder, though, performed solidly, scoring 119 runs at an average of 29.75. He made 44 against eventual champions Western Province and an unbeaten 51 as Namibia was routed for 116 by a Free State attack which included South African World Cup players Allan Donald and Nicky Boje.

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