Player Profile - Lennie Louw

Lennie Louw with Allan Donald
Lennie Louw with Allan Donald

Over the last few weeks we have been looking at players who are likely to have an important impact for their team at the Over-50s Cricket World Cup.

Today we look at Namibia’s captain Lennie Louw, who played ODI cricket during the 2003 World Cup. At the age of 60, he’ll be returning to South Africa for the Over-50s World Cup and will, as he was in 2003, be a key player for his country.

Louw played top-level cricket in Namibia for 27 years (including five first-class games and 11 List-A matches) leading up to the 2003 World Cup. At the age of 43 he was one of the oldest players in the tournament.

To qualify for the 2003 World Cup, Namibia had to win all of its matches at the 2001 ICC Trophy tournament. It did so, which Louw considers a highlight of his career.

However, he popped a disk in his back during the final warm-up game before the World Cup proper and only managed to play in the first match, against Zimbabwe. “I managed to take the first wicket for Namibia at a World Cup [Mark Vermuelen], which is a good personal memory.”

Louw was aware of the 2018 Over-50s Cricket World Cup in Sydney, mainly because he knew some of the South African players. Those players reported back how tough the tournament was, so when Namibia entered a team, Louw was wary. However, “in true Namibian spirit we decided to take up the challenge”.

Louw hasn’t played a lot of cricket since retiring after the 2003 World Cup. “I have only been on a couple of senior cricket tours and played the occasional social game.”

However, he recognises the importance of being cricket-fit, and that the standard of play will be “exceptionally high and competitive, so I will try to practice as often as possible and play some matches before the tournament”.

While he feels that Namibia’s lack of experience at this level could be an issue, “we do have experienced players and will do our best to work around our limitations”.

From a personal perspective, a lot will rest on Louw’s canny slow left-arm bowling. “It will be unrealistic to believe that I can still bowl like 17 years ago, but at that stage I was already fighting against the odds as a 43-year-old and hope to be doing more of the same!”

Namibia is a vast but sparsely populated country and most of its cricket is played in the capital of Windhoek. The country has a history of performing above expectations. In addition to qualifying for the 2003 World Cup, Namibia obtained full ODI status in 2019 and qualified for the 2020 T20 World Cup.

The over-50s team, led by Lennie Louw, will be hoping that they, too, can defy the odds at the Over-50s Cricket World Cup.

Impact: Namibia’s strength is likely to lie in its slow bowlers and Lennie Louw will be one of the key members of that line-up. The Namibians will look to Louw's experience and familiarity with conditions to lead their spin attack. If they can do that, then an upset could well be on the cards.

By Jim Morrison