Dutch youth squads include some well-known names

youth Vikram Singh

It’s not uncommon for familiar names to recur across the generations in Dutch cricket teams, but the names of almost all those selected in the KNCB’s Under-18 winter training squad and announced this weekend will be familiar to followers of Dutch cricket for another reason: they featured in this season’s abbreviated Topklasse competition.

Between them, the eleven Topklasse representatives in the 15-man squad have accumulated 197 top-flight matches, with two of them – the VRA Amsterdam pairing of Vikram Singh and Shirase Rasool – having appeared 119 times between them.

Both have Topklasse hundreds to their credit: Rasool, then playing for VRA’s neighbours ACC, became the youngest-ever top-flight centurion a couple of years ago, only to see his record broken by the even younger Singh a fortnight later.

youth Vikram Singh
Vikram Singh (ICC/KNCB)

The left-handed Singh, who also captained the VRA side this year when Peter Borren was injured, has made a total of 1321 Topklasse runs at an average of 24.02, and made his international debut for the Netherlands in a T20 International in 2019.

VRA’s youth policy is rewarded by the inclusion of three other players from the club, one of them 14-year-old spinner Luke Hartsink, who made a considerable impression when he broke into the side at the start of the season.

The selectors’ willingness to look beyond the top flight is confirmed by the presence of three players from Hoofdklasse sides – Kampong’s Gert Swanepoel and Pierre Jacod, and Groen en Wit’s Shariz Ahmed, the latter two, like Voorburg’s Aryan Dutt, also included in the Dutch senior Academy squad – and one from the Eerste Klasse in Qui Vive’s Arav Mishra.

The full Under-18 squad is:

Shariz Ahmed (Groen en Wit), Debrup Dasgupta (VRA), Aryan Dutt (Voorburg), Luke Hartsink (VRA), Dietmer Hennop (HCC), Pierre Jacod (Kampong), Arav Mishra (Qui Vive), Udit Nashier (VRA), Tobias Nota (Voorburg), Shreyas Potdar (CC), Shirase Rasool, Vikram Singh (both VRA), Gert Swanepoel (Kampong), Jelte van Troost (Excelsior ’20), Mees van Vliet (ACC).

In all, 67 boys have been named in the four Dutch Lions squads, with 55 girls selected for the Dutch Lionesses.

The inclusion of Mishra, and his younger brother Arnav in the Under-16 selection, the first Lions to come from Qui Vive’s five-year-old youth programme, marks a significant feature of the lists: the development of new junior departments in several clubs.

Other indications of this trend are the appearance of Arnav Yadav (Eindhoven) and Affaan Rauf Tariq (Punjab) in the Under-12 Lions squad, and Amara Holmes (Hilversum) in the Under-13 Lionesses.

Those with a sense of Dutch cricket history will also note the presence of several sons and daughters of former Dutch internationals among those named, including Robyn and Joris van Oosterom (Lionesses U15/17 and Lions U14 respectively), Teun and Olivier Kloppenburg (Lions U14 and U12), Tom de Leede – following in the footsteps of elder brother Bas – and Alejo Nota (Lions U14), Lara Leemhuis (Lionesses U13), and Amaan Raja (Lions U12).

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