WINDHOEK – Namibian cricketer Jean-Pierre Kotze has received recognition from the renowned American Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN), after the 25-year old wicket keeper was nominated for the ESPNcricinfo Awards in the Performance of the Year category.
This is according to information gathered from the ESPN website and other sport news sources.
The young Namibian cricketer was nominated alongside Scotland’s batsman George, Papau Guinea’s all-rounder Norman Vanua, Omani batsman, and occasional wicket keeper Jatinder Singh in the Performance of the Year category of the much-awaited 2019 ESPNcricinfo Awards.
Kotze was nominated after Namibia’s breathtaking performance on the final day of group playoffs which saw them clinch ODI status and guaranteed 36 ODIs as part of the new Cricket World Cup League Two structure.
The tournament hosts were scoring at just barely three an over when Kotze entered in the 15th. He came into the day in woeful form, but everything clicked in a brutal knock in which he struck 15 fours and nine sixes off 86 balls to put Namibia on the path to the tournament title.
The prestigious ESPNcricinfo Awards recognizes the best individual batting and bowling performances in cricket over the calendar year. They are voted on by an independent jury of former cricketers, commentators, and ESPNcricinfo’s senior writers. Previous winners at the awards includes Dale Steyn, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell Johnson, Shahid Afridi and Kumar Sangakkara amongst many others.
Kotze was in 2018 named as part of Namibia’s squad for the 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Two tournament. In March last year, he was named in Namibia’s squad for the 2019 ICC World Cricket League Division Two tournament, which saw Namibia finishing in the top four places at the tournament, therefore gaining One Day International (ODI) status.
The young Kotze made his ODI debut for Namibia in April last year against Oman, in the tournament’s final and in June last year, he also made it was one of twenty-five cricketers to be named in Cricket Namibia’s Elite Men’s Squad ahead of the 2019–20 international season.
He made his Twenty20 International (T20I) debut for Namibia against Botswana last August during Botswana’s tour of Namibia. On debut, he finished on 101 not out, from 43 balls. He became the first batsman for Namibia to score a century in a T20I match.
In August last year, Kotze was named in Namibia’s ODI squad for the 2019 United States Tri-Nation Series and in September later that year in the match against the United States, he scored 136 runs to become the first batsman for Namibia to score a century in ODI cricket.
Later the same month, he was named in Namibia’s squad for the 2019 ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier tournament in the United Arab Emirates. Ahead of the tournament, the International Cricket Council (ICC) named him as the key player in Namibia’s squad.