A year ago we were dismissed by Sri Lanka for 90-odd runs, now we’ve beaten them: Namibia coach De Bruyn

Namibia head coach Pierre de Bruyn is happy the “selflessness” he has instilled in his players is bearing fruit and helping establish a strong foundation as the team looks to upset some big names in the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.

On Sunday, Namibia thrashed reigning Asia Cup champions Sri Lanka by 55 runs in a Group A First Round match to send out a warning they cannot be taken lightly in the global competition.

Asked about Namibian captain Gerhard Erasmus showering praise on him for changing the team culture, the 45-year-old tactician De Bruyn, a former First-class player from South Africa who has a double-century to his name and has taken 108 wickets in 91 games, said, “It’s a journey to change a culture, or to establish a culture takes time, and that’s something I’ve identified in 2019 when I took over, is that we need a strong foundation. We need a strong culture for this team to perform. That’s what we’ve put together.

“Myself as a coach, I believe that we need to identify the values of this team and what we’re going to live by, and I must say that we’ve come a long way. Four years later, almost four years later, and look where this team is,” De Bruyn was quoted as saying by ICC after his team’s shocking win against Sri Lanka.

“Ultimately the values that we believe in and the values that we live in terms of pride and selfless, being a selfless player, inspiration, that’s something we live by, and then the biggest thing, and I suppose that’s what we saw yesterday on the field, is courage. I knew from the start that it’s going to take time for this team to believe in this culture, and it’s been an enjoyable journey to put it together,” he said.

On whether he had seen Namibia’s skill-sets evolve in his tenure as coach, De Bruyn said there had been a massive change in the way the group had developed into a winning unit.

“Absolutely. If I look at the skill sets in 2019 and where these players are right now, it’s amazing to see how they’ve grown and how they’ve developed as a group. Again, it takes a lot of work to get these skill sets where they are now, and we also know that we can always improve in our skills.

“But as I’ve said, there are various coaches that play a role in assisting me with this, and ultimately these players are willing to sacrifice a lot and they’re willing to work hard. If you’re not willing to work hard, then you’re not going to improve those skill sets quick enough. They’ve bought into the fact that it’s going to take time and it’s going to take a lot of sacrifice and it’s going to take a lot of sweat to improve their skill sets. I look at where they were 12 months ago against Sri Lanka, our batting unit were bowled out for 90-odd, and I look at yesterday’s game, and it’s just pleasing to see where these guys are right now,” he added.

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