Scotland Men’s national coach Shane Burger brings a full-strength squad to the Netherlands for the two-match ODI series at Rotterdam’s Hazelaarweg on Wednesday and Friday.
For the Dutch the games will be the final warm-up before the Super League series against Ireland in Utrecht in a fortnight’s time, but Ryan Campbell’s squad still largely comprises home-based players, with no indication as yet how many, if any at all, of the Netherlands’ county players will be available to take on the Irish.
Scotland will bear a strong resemblance to the side which last played in the ICC League Two in Dubai in December 2019, and the experience that represents is considerable: the likely top five of Matthew Cross, captain Kyle Coetzer, George Munsey, Calum MacLeod and Richie Berrington have a total of 278 ODI caps between them, and all are thoroughly familiar with their Dutch opponents.
The bowling resources available to Coetzer are also impressive, with a pace attack to be selected from Ali Evans, Safyaan Sharif, Berrington and the relative newcomers Gavin Main and Adrian Neill, while spin will come from the off-breaks of Michael Leask and the slow left armers Mark Watt and Hamza Tahir.
Add in Dylan Budge and Craig Wallace, competing for a place in the middle order with allrounder Josh Davey, and it’s hard to see Scotland starting as anything but favourites to take the series.
The one big advantage that the Netherlands have, apart from playing on their own turf, is that the pandemic has denied the Scots any match practice for nearly eighteen months, while the home side come off the back of a T20 tri-series in Nepal and, for many of the side, three one-day matches against the Ireland Wolves.
Ten of the latter party survive into this week’s squad, with Tonny Staal, Vikram Singh, Musa Nadeem and Ryan Klein dropping out to be replaced by Pieter Seelaar, Max O’Dowd and Saqib Zulfiqar.
Batter and leg-spinner Zulfiqar was unavailable for the Nepal and Ireland trips because of work commitments, but Campbell explicitly stressed that he remained in his calculations, and he will get his chance here to stake a claim for a place in the side to face Ireland.
Steph Myburgh seems to have won the contest to open the innings with O’Dowd, and Campbell and Seelaar will be hoping that they are able to bring greater solidity to the batting than was apparent against the Wolves.
If there are question marks about the Dutch batting, the series in Ireland indicated that the attack is beginning to approach its best form, the concerns about the ankle niggle which caused Viv Kingma to be left out of the final match there will have been eased by his bowling ten overs straight in Voorburg’s Topklasse match on Sunday.
Logan van Beek has added considerably to both bowling and batting, and either he or Paul van Meekeren will presumably share the new ball with Kingma, with Bas de Leede and/or Aryan Dutt to follow.
Leg-spinner Philippe Boissevain will be the front-line slow bowler, backed up by Zulfiqar, with skipper Seelaar providing his left-arm spin, which was certainly the most reliable component of the attack during the series in Kathmandu.
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