Weather is bigger threat to England than Namibia

There are several obstacles which prevent the England coach, Duncan Fletcher, from making his team into world champions. Injury, too much cricket, poor facilities and even the weather – which was last night threatening England's chances of qualifying for the next stages of the World Cup – are the usual reasons given for England's lack of success.

For Namibia, England's opponents here today, and their coach, Dougie Brown, the former England all-rounder, such problems would seem trivial. For them, even setting the bowling machine up at practice can be a life-threatening experience. During one training session in Windhoeck, Brown went to get the bowling machine out of its shed only to see a black mamba, one of the deadliest snakes in the world, lying between him and the equipment.

"It was a little one, only two or three feet long," Brown said. "But I was told they are the most venomous. I didn't know what to do so I got one of the players to get rid of it." Coming from Stirling in Scotland and having played most of his cricket at Edgbaston, such delegation is understandable.

Brown, who was in the shake-up for the 1999 World Cup, still plays for Warwickshire and will have mixed emotions going into the game. He is a team-mate of Nick Knight and Ashley Giles – who will not play today because of tonsillitis – but is keen for his young side to make an impact.

"I have a foot in both camps," Brown said. "I am desperately keen for England to do well but I also want my side to put in a good performance. For us to win it will require a massive team effort and the full Test side to have either an off day or treat us with disrespect.

"We do not have the individuals who are going to score big hundreds or take six or seven wickets in the game, so we need a major contribution from everybody. We have a reasonable side but are lacking in experience. I don't think England will have too much to worry about, but we have all seen that upsets in big competitions do occur."

Namibia reached the World Cup by finishing as runners-up in the 2001 ICC Trophy. To get to the final they won 10 consecutive qualifying matches before losing to the Netherlands on the last ball of the game. With only five clubs and 300 club cricketers to pick from the East Africans have no professionals within their ranks. Their team contains police inspectors, IT consultants, electricians and doctors each of whom has had to take unpaid leave to play in the tournament.

England's highly paid professionals put the finishing touches to their preparations in a three-hour training session at St George's Park yesterday morning. With spirits lifted following their comfortable six-wicket win over the Netherlands on Sunday, Fletcher will be ensuring complacency does not creep into a side which is expected to be unchanged.

Having captained the Zimbabwe team who caused the odd shock, including a memorable win over Australia in the 1983 World Cup, Fletcher knows how dangerous an underdog can be. "We have seen sides like this cause an upset every now and again," he said. "We have got to make sure it does not happen tomorrow. The guys are pretty positive in the way they are playing and there is a really good vibe about the team."

A bigger worry for England could be the weather after storms came into the Port Elizabeth area last night. England already need to win three of their four matches to qualify for the next round and rain today could mean they have to win three in a row against Pakistan, India and Australia. This will be a tough ask.

* The England coach, Duncan Fletcher, yesterday encouraged Nasser Hussain to continue as England captain at the conclusion of the World Cup. Fletcher, who has worked closely with Hussain since October 1999, stressed that he would not discuss the matter with Hussain until after the tournament so it does not deflect the focus of the squad. Doubts over Hussain's future were raised at the weekend when he threatened to resign because of disillusionment with the cricket authorities.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum