Green opens up on his cricket journey
By Michael Uugwanga
THERE have been a host of impressive individual displays so far in the career of one of the country’s top cricket wicket-keepers Zane Green, who captained Namibia’s U-19 side that produced one of the greatest shocks in youth cricketing history when they toppled then defending champions South Africa at the 2016 Under-19 World Cup, in Bangladesh.
Namibia went on to reach the quarter-finals before losing out to India for a place in the semi-finals.
Against South Africa, although the star of the day was bowler, Michael van Lingen, Green had a productive outing behind the wicket, pouching five catches.
At 23, Green continues with that impressive display at national level alongside his former mate, batsman Niko Davin – the only two players that are currently in the national set-up from the famous 2016 youth side.
He currently plays for Windhoek Old Boys Cricket club, and is a huge admirer of former Australian batsman and wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist.
Green made his senior national team debut last year April against Oman in Windhoek in the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League Division Two, which Namibia won by 145 runs, as he produced some of his best runs of 38, only Karl Birkenstock with 61 had more runs than Green.
Since making his debut, Green has an impressive overall of 206 runs and was instrumental in helping Namibia qualify to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup that is set to take place in India next year.
Following a successful two years, Namibia was therefore awarded with the One Day International (ODI) status for the first time in 16 years, something that Green is happy to be part of this achievement.
Only three players have recorded more runs than Green for Namibia in the ODI, Jean-Pierre Kotze (299), Graig Williams (267), and Merwe Erasmus (226), while Green has 206 runs.
“The U-19 World Cup was amazing as it made me realise that this is what I wanted to do. I want to feel that again at the T20 World Cup. Even gaining the ODI status and qualifying to the World Cup in the same year, the feeling is unexplainable.
“If you are to ask me what is the best moment in my life, I will say that it is the T20 World Cup qualifications because we were almost down and out in the qualifiers and against all odds we came back strong to win five matches in a row and make it to the semi-finals and qualify to the World Cup,” said Green.
Born in Windhoek, Green said cricket was never his first priority but rugby, and strangely enough, in grade 11 he decided to focus on cricket in order to make the World Cup squad.
“I left rugby to focus on my cricket because I wanted to make the U-19 World Cup squad. After making the team I decided to make cricket my number one sport. My aim of playing cricket was to play at the U-19 World Cup like my cousins Marc Olivier and Ashley van Rooi as they inspired me.
“I also played tennis in high school, so cricket was never my first choice. I really worked hard to be where I am today. Helao ya France is my gym-buddy as we spend a lot of time together and another teammate that I like hanging out with is Stephan Baard, however Karl (Birkenstock) is my best friend as we share a room when on tours,” said Green.
Although Namibia will be the underdogs at next year’s World Cup, Green feels that the team has come of age and it can cause an upset.
“I think our chances are pretty good and the conditions in India will suit us a bit better. So we are definitely going there to take on some big dogs and cause some upsets. Our captain Merwe (Erasmus) is an incredible leader and a fantastic player. I do not see myself yet as a future captain,” said Green.