The Netherlands’ somewhat fragile batting line-up received a significant boost on Friday, with the news that 35-year-old Tom Cooper had been included in the 18-man squad for the Super League series against England, which starts on 17 June.
Cooper appeared 86 times in the Dutch side between 2010 and 2016, making 2823 runs, 976 of them in 23 ODIs at an average of 48.00, and taking 31 wickets with his off breaks.
He last played in 2016, in the T20 World Cup, and has not appeared in an ODI since 2013, when he was in the side which tied with Ireland at the VRA Ground in Amstelveen, where the Super League games against England will be played.
Since then he has mainly turned out for South Australia in Australian domestic competitions, as well as playing for the Melbourne Renegades and the Brisbane Heat in the T20 Big Bash League.
With 160 List A matches behind him he will bring a wealth of experience to a young top order which showed courage and flair against the West Indies last week but which found it difficult to maintain the momentum after three exciting opening partnerships between Vikramjit Singh and Max O’Dowd.
Another addition to the squad is 19-year-old left-arm spinner and middle-order batter Tim Pringle, son of former New Zealand international seamer Chris, who was born in Den Haag when his father was playing as an overseas player in the Netherlands and who has impressed while playing for Dutch Topklasse club HCC this season.
Fred Klaassen, the Kent left-arm pace man who was named in the squad against the West Indies but who was forced to withdraw because of injury, has again been included, as has Essex medium pacer Shane Snater, who was unavailable for that series.
They join Viv Kingma, Logan van Beek, Ryan Klein and Bas de Leede to form a six-man pace unit, while Pringle comes into a spin section which also includes fellow left-armers Pieter Seelaar and Clayton Floyd, off-spinner Aryan Dutt – who dismissed Nicholas Pooran three times in as many matches – and leg-spinners Shariz Ahmad and Philippe Boissevain.
As well as Singh, O’Dowd and Cooper, the Dutch batting resources will include Teja Nidamanuru, who made a half-century on his international debut against the West Indies, Musa Ahmad, De Leede, and wicket-keeper Scott Edwards, who also played one significant innings against the West Indians.
They will take on a strong England side led by Eoin Morgan, veteran of 246 ODIs, 223 of them for England and 23 for his native Ireland, and coached by Australian Matthew Mott, who had a season playing for Excelsior ’20 Schiedam in the Dutch competition in 2003, incidentally appearing twice for the Netherlands as an overseas player in the NatWest Trophy, both matches taking place in Amstelveen.
The English squad is notable for the inclusion of no fewer than five left-arm pace bowlers, including the potential debutants David Payne (Gloucestershire) and Luke Wood (Lancashire); the others are David Willey, Sam Curran and Reece Topley.
The only right-arm fast man in the party is South African-born Brydon Carse of Durham, who claimed five for 61 in his last ODI appearance, against Pakistan at Edgbaston in 2021.
With England currently involved in a Test series against New Zealand several well-known names are missing, but Morgan and Mott will have openers Jason Roy, Dawid Malan and Phil Salt, the experienced spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, wicketkeeper Jos Buttler (who has 148 ODIs under his belt), and the hard-hitting Liam Livingstone.
Currently third in the Super League table England will start as clear favourites against the bottom-placed Dutch, although the return of Cooper, the possible advent of Pringle and the availability of Klaassen and Snater do even up the odds somewhat.
A full England side has never previously played in the Netherlands, although they have twice beaten the Dutch in 50-over World Cups in India and South Africa; Seelaar and his men, however, will prefer to recall that in T20Is they enjoy a 2-nil advantage, having won at Lord’s in 2009 and at Chittagong in 2014, when they bowled their opponents for 88.
Those with longer memories may remember victories over an England XI in Amstelveen in 1989, when the visitors included Peter Roebuck, Alec Stewart, Nasser Hussain and Derek Pringle, and against an England A side at Haarlem four years later, when Hussain was again on the losing side.
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