Dutch take an experienced squad to USA and Caribbean

Bas de Leede
Bas de Leede plays a shot as Matthew Cross of Scotland keeps during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier Zimbabwe 2023 Super 6 match between Scotland and Netherlands at Queen’s Sports Club on July 06, 2023 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (Photo: ICC)

‘Who’s available?’ is a question which confronts Dutch cricket selectors in a particularly sharp form.

With five county-contracted players and several more who play their cricket with  first-class teams elsewhere, establishing who is available for any given match or tournament is a crucial factor in picking a squad.

The ICC’s mandatory release system means that in theory everyone should be in the mix for an event like this year’s World T20 Cup, but the reality is that some, like Durham’s Colin Ackermann and Somerset’s Roelof van der Merwe, have turned out to be bound by county obligations which rule them out.

Nevertheless, Ackermann’s Durham teammate Bas de Leede and Kent’s Fred Klaassen are in the Dutch squad which was announced on Monday, along with Logan van Beek and Tim Pringle, who play for Wellington and Northern Districts respectively in New Zealand’s domestic competitions, Daniel Doram of the Leeward Islands, and Paul van Meekeren, currently plying his trade with the Weston-super-Mare club in England.

It is an experienced squad: seven are veterans of both the last T20 Cup, played in Australia in 2022 and from which the Dutch qualified directly for this year’s event, and in last year’s 50-over World Cup, while a further five appeared in one or the other.

The exceptions are batter Michael Levitt, who established his claim during the T20 tri-series in Nepal in March, left-arm spinner Doram, who made his debut as a 16-year-old in 2013 but has played only twice more since, and pace bowler Viv Kingma, who despite a succession of injuries has played 69 times for his country, taking a total of 97 wickets across all formats.

Kingma will be part of a seam attack which also includes left-armer Klaassen, Van Meekeren and allrounders De Leede and Van Beek, while Kyle Klein, younger brother of the injured Ryan, will accompany the side as a travelling reserve.

Spin will come from Doram and Pringle, and from the off-breaks of Aryan Dutt, who has repeatedly proved his worth against some of the best batters in the world.

The Dutch played all three openers, Levitt, Max O’Dowd and left-hander Vikram Singh, in the tri-series final in Nepal, and it will be interesting to see whether they take that option again at the World Cup.

The top and middle order will feature Sybrand Engelbrecht, one of the successes of last year’s ODI World Cup, De Leede and skipper Scott Edwards, the side’s leading run-scorer over the past couple of years, and either or both of Teja Nidamanuru and Wesley Barresi, the latter now 40 and a veteran of 212 matches for the national side, needing just 32 runs to become the first player to make 5000 runs for the Netherlands across all three formats.

Edwards’ men will face a tricky schedule next month, with a potential banana-skin opener against Nepal in Dallas, followed by a possible three-wins-in-a-row encounter with South Africa at the unknown quantity of the brand-new and much-hyped Nassau County Cricket Stadium in New York.

One thing is certain: the South Africans will not be underestimating their opponents in this game.

The Dutch will then travel to two different Caribbean countries to complete their group schedule, taking on Bangladesh – whom they also beat in last year’s ODI World Cup – in St Vincent, and their bêtes noirs in either format, Sri Lanka in St Lucia.

With a tri-series against Ireland and Scotland starting in Voorburg on Saturday, coach Ryan Cook and skipper Edwards will have ample opportunity to try out different configurations of their side before they embark upon another adventure among the world’s top teams.

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