County players return for Dutch T20 campaign

The Netherlands squad pose for a photo ahead of their series against New Zealand XI

The Netherlands will be back to virtually full strength for the men’s World T20 Cup in Australia which starts on 16 October, welcoming back to the squad which the KNCB announced on Tuesday half a dozen county-contracted players who have been intermittently available at best over the past year.

The Dutch will start their campaign against the United Arab Emirates at Kardinia Park, Geelong in the evening match of the opening day (10:00 CET), with further fixtures against Namibia on 18 October (06:00 CET) and Sri Lanka on 20 October (06:00 CET), both at the same venue.

The first task of the side will be to expunge memories of the disastrous tournament the Dutch experienced in Oman last year, and to move into the competition proper by finishing in the top two of the group; that would likely require them to win two of their three games.

Winning the group would take them into a further pool with Afghanistan, Australia, England, New Zealand and the runners-up in Preliminary Group B, while if they finished in second spot they would then take on Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, South Africa and the Group B winners.

Skipper Scott Edwards and coach Ryan Cook will be hoping that their side can reproduce the form of the 2014 squad, who topped their preliminary group and went on to defeat England in the second phase.

‘We have assembled a well-balanced squad,’ Cook said on announcing his side, ‘with an exciting blend of youth and experience.

Scott Edwards_Netherlands
Wicketkeeper-batsman will lead the Netherlands at this year’s T20 World Cup

‘The experience playing in the Super League will stand the team in good stead and good confidence can be taken from these performances. We will look to continue the progression that was evident through the summer into the tournament and have some quality preparation planned prior to the event which will help the readiness for the group in both skills and cohesion.’

The availability of top-order batter Colin Ackermann, who last played for the Netherlands in the rained-off Super League match against South Africa last November, all-rounder Roelof van der Merwe, and pace bowlers Fred Klaassen, Timm van der Gugten and Paul van Meekeren, who were available for just two games between them over the summer, undoubtedly strengthens the party a good deal, but it has unfortunate consequences for some of those who carried the Dutch through the ’Summer of Cricket’.

There is, for example, no place for Aryan Dutt, the off-spinner who dismissed West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran for low scores three times in a row and who bowled very well against Pakistan; it seems that he is regarded as more of an asset in 50-over matches than in T20s.

The squad does, however, include two other 19-year-olds in left-handed opener Vikram Singh and wrist spinner Shariz Ahmad, both of whom also showed signs of significant development over the summer, while on the side of experience Edwards will have another left-hander in Steph Myburgh and Tom Cooper, who hit three consecutive half-centuries in the Pakistan series.

The return of Klaassen, Van der Gugten and Glover means that Viv Kingma, Ryan Klein and Shane Snater all miss out, as do top-order batter Musa Ahmad (Teja Nidamanuru retaining his place), left-arm spinner Clayton Floyd and leg-spinner Philippe Boissevain.

With a top and middle order comprising a sub-set of Myburgh, Max O’Dowd, Singh, Ackermann, Cooper, Bas de Leede, Nidamanuru and Edwards, a pace attack centring on Klaassen, Van Beek, De Leede, Van der Gugten and Glover, and spin options including Van der Merwe, Tim Pringle, Shariz and perhaps Ackermann and Cooper, this is probably as strong a squad as could have been assembled, and Dutch fans will be hoping that they go into the tournament better prepared and in a more composed frame of mind than last year’s side.

The full squad is:
Scott Edwards (VOC Rotterdam, captain), Colin Ackermann (Leicestershire), Shariz Ahmad, Logan van Beek (both Voorburg), Tom Cooper (Kampong Utrecht), Brandon Glover (Northamptonshire), Timm van der Gugten (Glamorgan), Fred Klaassen (Kent), Bas de Leede (Voorburg), Paul van Meekeren (Gloucestershire), Roelof van der Merwe (Somerset), Stephan Myburgh, Teja Nidamanuru (both Punjab Rotterdam), Max O’Dowd (VOC Rotterdam), Tim Pringle (HCC), and Vikram Singh (VRA Amsterdam).

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