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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 13:47 GMT

Vintage Louw improves with age
By Thrasy Petropoulos
BBC Sport in Port Elizabeth

At a time when most of his contemporaries are getting on with life after cricket, Lennie Louw is clutching doggedly to a schoolboy fantasy.

Lennie Louw
Lennie Louw was a fast bowler in his younger days

At 42, the Namibia left-arm spinner is comfortably the oldest player at the World Cup - not a bad effort in a squad with an average age of 22.

"Most of my age group are administrators or commentators," he grinned.

"It's strange to think of them commentating on me."

It has certainly been an unusual homecoming for Louw.

Born in South Africa, he grew up in Cape Town and would have played for Western Province but for their international opening pair of Garth Le Roux and Steve Jeffries.

Trained in accountancy, he followed a job to Namibia where he settled in the mid-80s and bowled left-arm quick.

He turned to spin when his knees gave in, retiring from the game after the 1994 ICC Trophy to spend more time with his young family.

But a sense of competition still burned within and he returned with the World Cup in mind.

"It's an incredibly opportunity, a huge privilege," said Louw, who is managing director of a life assurance company.

There is nobody with a bigger desire to play in this World Cup than Lennie Louw
Dougie Brown
Namibia coach

"But it's also an achievement that I'm proud of. At my age, not in my wildest dreams did I think I would be playing in the World Cup.

"That said, I'm a spinner and that means you can only improve with age. I definitely think that I am a better bowler now than when I was 35.

"I have learned that the secret to bowling in one-day matches is varying your pace.

"The only downside is my mobility. I am not as quick as I was and I have just suffered an injury - a bulging disc in my lower back - that has put me out of the England game."

In the one game that Louw did play, his figures of one for 60 compared favourably with those of his bowling colleagues as Zimbabwe piled up 340 for two.

Admiration

Dougie Brown, the Warwickshire all-rounder who took over the coaching duties from Louw prior to the World Cup, does not try to hide his admiration for his predecessor.

"He bowled in South Africa's Standard Bank one-day competition, in which Namibia now play, and went for something like 2.3 runs an over," he said.

"An incredible performance for someone his age.

"There is nobody with a bigger desire to play in this World Cup than Lennie Louw. He's got the heart of a lion.

"There are guys from the ICC who are bringing him tea who have been retired for ten years."



Links to more Namibia stories


 

SEE ALSO
Kotze defends Namibian ambition
16 Feb 03 |  Namibia
Wasim shatters Namibia
17 Feb 03 |  Pakistan


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