T20 World Cup: Gerhard Erasmus on Namibia's remarkable journey to T20 World Cup

T20 World Cup Men's T20: Scotland v Namibia Date: 27 Oct Time: 15:00 BST. Extra commentary by BBC Radio 5 Live Sport. BBC Sport app and website offers live text commentary, video highlights and in-play clips.
Gerhard Erasmus, Namibia's captain, fell to the ground in tears after David Wiese scored the winning runs that secured qualification for the Super 12 stage at the Men's T20 World Cup.

It had been 18 years since Namibia played in a World Cup. They were filled with joy from Windhoek, Sharjah and beyond as the tournament's lowest-ranked team defied all odds.

Erasmus said that these emotions were not only from him but also from the Namibian entourage. They are the result of a long journey that had faced obstacles that many international teams could not even imagine.

"Grown men on the cricket field crying is not normal. It's not normal to feel sad. Erasmus says that emotions are triggered by special people and events.

"Although it might be a moment in cricket history, it is a significant moment in many people's lives."

Erasmus believes that their experiences have helped to create a culture of resilience and selflessness in a country with very limited cricket resources.

He adds, "With the resources available, it's difficult and that's required a tight ship."

"We have five pitches for cricket in the country. All year, we train at the same place. It's simple things, like using old softballs. To get top-quality cricket, we must be consistent.

"Pierre (de Bruyn is the Namibia head coach) buys our snacks to train on Mondays. Karl Birkenstock takes the water can. Although I don't mean to sound like we are a hopeless team, those are the resources that we have built a culture around.

This culture and mental strength that Namibian cricketers have developed are also due to their ability to play "games with real consequences" among Associate nations. These matches can often make the difference between making a living playing cricket or getting another job.

It's competitive. These tournaments and qualifiers in which you know that if you don’t qualify, there won’t be enough funding or cricket for the next two years... We’ve played many of these."

Gerhard Erasmus is an average 36.88 year old with a strike rate 136 from the 25 Twenty20s for Namibia

Namibia was granted one-day international status in 2019. This significantly increased their funding over the next few years. This funding enabled 13 additional players to be awarded full-time contracts. Only three players had been contracted before 2019.

Erasmus says that "our central contacts are only so big as our budget." Erasmus says that "we don't have enough money to get contracts large enough to support a living or a livelihood after cricket."

Many players combine their passion for cricket with other careers. Craig Williams is a quantity surveyor and runs a cricket shop. The 37-year old also established Namibia's first indoor cricket training facility.

Erasmus, a 26 year-old law graduate, said that securing ODI status made the difference between playing full-time cricket and needing to find a job.

He says, "Without this kind of funding, many of us would have to go that route again. Where guys get small contracts but are essentially player workers."

Namibia lost to Sri Lanka, an established Test side and former 50-over champions of the world, in their T20 World Cup campaign.

Namibia's first World Cup success was achieved against the Netherlands. Then came a win over Ireland that secured them a place in the Super 12 phase.

Erasmus says that after losing to Sri Lanka at 52-3, he was unable to win nine matches [chasing 165] against the Netherlands. It would have been easy to roll over, and that's it.

We stuck with it. We now hold the values of those years of learning, mental strength, and real resilience that we have experienced throughout this journey.

Namibia will be playing against Scotland in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, at 15:00 BST.

It is hard to imagine facing some of the greatest cricket stars.

Erasmus says, "Coming from Windhoek where we often have our family and friends beside the field having barbecues, it doesn’t get louder than a few hands claps."

"It will be great fun to play in front of huge global audiences. Let's hope that we can use that energy to our benefit." We're going to have a blast doing it.

A seven-year old Erasmus was inspired by Namibia's 2003 50-over World Cup win to turn his attention to cricket instead of rugby.

It speaks volumes about how far they've come. He is now able to say, "We owe a lot to ourselves to inspire and motivate the next generation."