David Wiese keeps up winning ways after swapping Lahore Qalandars 'family' for Namibia

Former South Africa allrounder is on Cricket World Cup League 2 duty a little over a week after winning PSL title

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There may have been a few less eyeballs watching, both in person and online. The stakes might have been lower.

But David Wiese said he felt like he had just swapped one family for another after turning out for Namibia in Dubai, a little over a week after winning the Pakistan Super League with Lahore Qalandars.

The all-rounder was returning to play for his father’s home country, on the same field at the ICC Academy in Dubai where he had debuted for them back in October.

The former South Africa international has joined up with the Namibians for their Cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series, involving UAE and Oman.

It is his first cricket since helping Qalandars to a maiden PSL title in front of the packed stands of the Gaddafi Stadium in their home city of Lahore.

“It is an amazing achievement,” Wiese said of winning the title against Multan Sultans at the end of last month.

“Traditionally, the Qalandars hadn’t been the best side in the PSL, but we have kept the core of the team together over the past couple of years.

“We knew at one stage it was always going to bear fruit. It just felt like the stars aligned and everything clicked towards the end of the tournament.

“You can’t underestimate how much impact playing in front of a home crowd made. That was amazing, being able to play at home in front of 30,000 supporters again.

“It was an unbelievable experience. I can’t explain how much energy they give you when you play there.”

Initially, Wiese was brought back to reality with a bump, after swapping the green of the Qalandars for the dapper dark blue of Namibia.

He was bowled first ball by a rampant Bilal Khan, the Oman left-arm quick bowler, as Namibia crumbled to 53-7.

Remarkably, though, the African side bounced back from that position to win by 110 runs. First, Gerhard Erasmus salvaged the batting effort with an innings worth 121 not out from 120 balls that was every bit the archetypal captain’s knock.

After he dragged Namibia to 226, the weary Oman batsmen were blown away by a relentless pace attack, with Wiese himself taking 2-22.

While the differences are obvious, Wiese said there are parallels between Qalandars and Namibia, too. Namely, that the close bonds between the players make them fight for each other.

“Because the core seven or eight players have been together for a few years now, it does not just feel like one of those franchise sides where you go in and go out," he said of his PSL team.

“You really get invested in the team there. The management, Sameen [Rana, the Qalandars chief operating officer] and the Rana family are such passionate sport and cricket lovers that they have really created a family vibe there. You want to do well for them the whole time.

“This [Namibia] is on the opposite spectrum. There are only so many people in Namibia. You play against the same club teams the whole time. You train together. In this aspect, you become a close knit unit.

“These guys over the past couple of years have shed blood, sweat and tears together. They have really put in the effort, and that is the bond that grows when you go through the hard times.

“You could see today that everyone was fighting for each other. You could see when [Erasmus] got his hundred, we were all happy for each other’s achievements. It is a great culture to have in the team.”

Erasmus, too, said he was proud of the fight his side had put up – which was most obvious during his stand of 50 for the eighth wicket with Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, and 121 for the ninth with Bernard Scholtz.

“We stayed in the challenge and stayed connected to the game, and I guess if you do that for a long period of time things like today can happen,” Erasmus said. “They were a very important two points for us.”

The series recommences when Namibia face UAE, who lost the opening game by 12 runs against Oman on Saturday, at the ICC Academy on Tuesday.

Updated: March 06, 2022, 3:02 PM
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