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Netherlands’ World Cup dream: David’s stand against cricket’s Goliaths

September 25, 2023 2:56 PM IST

Netherlands Cricket Team | Netherlands Cricket World Cup Squad | Scott Edwards | Sybrand Engelbrecht

After stunning West Indies in the qualifiers, the Netherlands enter the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup as the only Associate nation.

While retaining 11 of the 15 squad members from the qualifiers, the Dutch contingent faces notable omissions, primarily due to injuries. Premier pacers like Van Der Gugten and Fred Klaasen have been sidelined, and Brandon Glover, despite his brilliance Down Under in the T20 World Cup last year, was left out. With only four fast-bowling options, the omission of Glover’s raw pace raises eyebrows.

The Netherlands have a diverse spin attack, featuring two leg-break, one left-arm orthodox, and one right-arm off-break bowler. Colin Ackermann can also be handy with his off-breaks. It will depend on skipper Scott Edwards how he utilizes this varied spin arsenal effectively while encountering specific match-ups in the tournament.

The most glaring exclusion is star batter Tom Cooper. Speculation had swirled about Cooper’s international retirement, but Head Coach Ryan Cook cited his “lack of recent competitive cricket” as the reason for his omission, despite his terrific form leading up to the qualifiers. While it is true that Cooper missed the qualifiers, four out of the 15 current squad members were also absent, and Cooper had been in terrific form prior to that, even top-scoring in the closely fought 3-0 loss to Pakistan.

Despite these challenges, Dutch fans have a lot to cheer. The return of experienced campaigners like Van Der Merwe, Van Meekeren, and Ackermann injects valuable stability into the squad. The inclusion of the uncapped spin all-rounder, Sybrand Engelbrecht, brings excitement to the team. Known for his memorable catch against India in the 2008 U-19 World Cup, the 35-year-old is poised to make his international debut in the World Cup, having entered the team’s plans just a month before the tournament.

In the Super League campaign, the Dutch batting lineup, led by the

In the Super League campaign, the Dutch batting lineup, led by the dynamic opening duo of Vikramjit Singh and Max O’Dowd, has been in top form. Their crucial roles in securing Netherlands’ qualification bode well for their performance on the grand stage.

The Netherlands have played most of their cricket on the highways of South Africa or within small grounds back home. This could pose a challenge for the men in orange as they adapt to the dry surfaces of India.

To put things into perspective, only two players from the current squad, Wesley Barresi and Roelof van der Merwe, have prior experience of playing international cricket in India. For the rest of the team, their only exposure to Indian pitches leading up to the World Cup is the pre-tournament training camp, which is currently underway in Bengaluru.

The Netherlands are also slated to play a practice game against the Karnataka state team today, followed by another on the 27th of September.

In an effort to diversify their bowling options during net practice sessions, the Dutch team management recently took to social media to extend an invitation for aspiring net bowlers to join the team preparations in Bengaluru.

Stepping onto the world stage as rank outsiders, the Netherlands will aim to spring a few surprises, much like they did in the T20 World Cup last year when they upset South Africa by 13 runs, eliminating them from the tournament.

The Netherlands will kick-off their World Cup campaign against Pakistan in Hyderabad on October 6.

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Last updated on: 16th June 2024