The KNCB has announced plans for a three-match Pro Series between its Hurricanes and Seafarers squads, to be played over the next month as part of the preparation for the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe in June.
Originally established as the Dutch participants in the North Sea Pro Series a decade ago, the Hurricanes and Seafarers have now largely lost their regional component, due in no small part to the dominance of players from Rotterdam and Den Haag in the national selections.
No fewer than nineteen of the 24 players named in the two squads are from clubs in the south, eight of them from Voorburg.
The northern representatives are the VRA trio of Vikram Singh, Teja Nidamanuru (recently transferred from Punjab Rotterdam) and Aryan Dutt, plus Kampong Utrecht’s Alex Roy and Auckland allrounder Ross ter Braak, who is not as yet attached to any Dutch club.
Like his brother Dan, who played three times for the Netherlands in 2017-18, Ter Braak was born in New Zealand, but their father Rob played for Excelsior, Hermes-DVS and Sparta between 1985 and 1994 before emigrating, and Ross himself turned out twice for VRA in 2018.
Kampong seamer Roy is one of three players from Hoofdklasse sides to be included, the others being the Hermes-DVS pair of Sebastiaan Braat, who has recently captained the Dutch A side in Spain and Portugal, and Olivier Elenbaas.
So keen have the selectors been to balance the squads that they have split the five northerners between them, with Singh and Roy due to play for the Seafarers.
Also included in the Seafarers party is newcomer Michael Levitt, a Dutch-passport-holding South African who has already made a considerable impression in Voorburg’s warm-up games with two centuries, a fifty and 43 not out in his four innings to date.
Five members of each squad were in the party which played in Zimbabwe and South Africa before Easter, but given the probable unavailability of most of the Netherlands’ county-contracted players for the World Cup Qualifier there will certainly be opportunities for others to state their claim for a ticket on the plane to Harare.
Half a dozen of them have appeared in Dutch colours in the past, including two of the Zulfiqar triplets in wicketkeeper-batter Asad and leg-spinning allrounder Saqib; the third triplet, Sikander, is among several possible contenders who, for whatever reason, have not been included.
The first of the 50-over games will be played at the VRA ground in Amstelveen next Wednesday, 26 April, with the others taking place at Maarschalkerweerd, Utrecht on 3 May and at the Hazelaarweg in Rotterdam on 16 May.
Commenting on the squads, chairman of selectors Jeroen Smits said: ‘With the elimination of the Super League, this series will comprise the most important matches towards the qualification route later this summer for the 50-over World Cup that will take place in India in October.
‘The Pro Series will provide an opportunity for all players to stake a claim for the final selection that will compete in Zimbabwe for tickets to the World Cup in India.’
Hurricanes: Max O’Dowd (VOC Rotterdam, captain), Musa Nadeem Ahmad, Philippe Boissevain (both Voorburg), Ross ter Braak (Auckland), Noah Croes (Voorburg, WK), Aryan Dutt (VRA Amsterdam), Olivier Elenbaas (Hermes-DVS Schiedam), Clayton Floyd (HCC), Ryan Klein (Voorburg), Teja Nidamanuru (VRA), Asad Zulfiqar (Punjab Rotterdam, WK) and Mees van Vliet (Voorburg)
Seafarers: Scott Edwards (VOC, captain, wicketkeeper), Shariz Ahmad (Voorburg), Wesley Barresi (HBS Craeyenhout), Sebastiaan Braat (Hermes-DVS), Boris Gorlee (HCC), Kyle Klein (HBS), Vivian Kingma, Michael Levitt (both Voorburg), Alex Roy (Kampong Utrecht), Vikramjit Singh (VRA), Roel Verhagen (Excelsior ’20 Schiedam) and Saqib Zulfiqar (Punjab).