There are two new names in the Netherlands’ 15-man squad to take part in the World Cup qualifier in June, announced on Tuesday, while with the exception of Durham’s Bas de Leede the Dutch internationals contracted to English counties have, it appears, once again not been released.
Batters Michael Levitt and Noah Croes have both made a positive impression in Voorburg’s star-studded side, currently leading in the domestic Topklasse competition, and they join four Voorburg teammates in Ryan Cook’s selection.
Levitt, who will turn 20 the day before the Netherlands’ opening group match against Zimbabwe, is a product of the Western Province youth system and played for Stanmore in the Middlesex Premier League last season before joining Voorburg this year, while the 23-year-old Croes, a top-order batter who will double as cover for captain Scott Edwards behind the stumps, has enjoyed considerable success in recent seasons with Melbourne University in the Victorian first-grade competition.
Both were in the A team party which played in Northamptonshire earlier this month, as well as taking part in the recent Pro Series of internal squad games.
Absentees from the squad named for Zimbabwe are the pace quintet of Fred Klaassen (Kent), Paul van Meekeren (Gloucestershire), Brandon Glover (Durham), Timm van der Gugten (Glamorgan) and Shane Snater (Essex), as well as allrounder Roelof van der Merwe (Somerset) and batter Colin Ackermann (Leicestershire).
Also missing is New Zealand-based left-arm spinner Tim Pringle, who is sitting out the northern summer recovering from an injury.
The pace attack will therefore comprise the Voorburg trio of Viv Kingma, Ryan Klein and Logan van Beek, together with De Leede, himself a product of Voorburg’s youth set-up before he joined former national coach Ryan Campbell at Durham earlier this year, while Vikram Singh showed on the recent tour to Zimbabwe and South Africa that he can provide useful back-up with the ball if needed.
Singh’s primary role, however, will be as an opening batter, where as an aggressive left-hander he has developed a valuable partnership with the right-handed Max O’Dowd.
Levitt and Croes will doubtless be competing for places in the top six, along with the veteran Wesley Barresi, Teja Nidamanuru – the Netherlands’ only centurion in the now-concluded and regrettably abolished Super League – De Leede and Saqib Zulfiqar, whose last ODI was against Afghanistan eighteen months ago but who has now earned a return to the side.
Zulfiqar’s leg-breaks will also contribute to a spin department which may prove to be the side’s greatest asset: the squad includes the off-spinner Aryan Dutt, who was impressive during the Super League campaign, often taking the new ball, the young googly specialist Shariz Ahmad (who has so far captured 23 Topklasse wickets this season at an average of 8.45), and left-armer Clayton Floyd.
With only two World Cup places up for grabs among ten teams, and West Indies and hosts Zimbabwe in the Dutch group along with Nepal and the USA, Ryan Cook’s men will face a very tough challenge if they are to progress.
Their first target, however, will be a spot in the Super Six, and if they play as well as they are capable of doing that should be achievable.
It is a young but no longer inexperienced outfit, and they will be keen to show that their outstanding success at last year’s World T20 Cup can be extended to the 50-over format as well.
Squad: Scott Edwards (VOC Rotterdam, captain), Shariz Ahmad (Voorburg), Wesley Barresi (HBS Craeyenhout), Logan van Beek, Noah Croes (both Voorburg), Aryan Dutt (VRA Amsterdam), Clayton Floyd (HCC), Viv Kingma, Ryan Klein (both Voorburg), Bas de Leede (Durham), Michael Levitt (Voorburg), Teja Nidamanuru (VRA) Max O’Dowd (VOC), Vikram Singh (VRA), and Saqib Zulfiqar (Punjab Rotterdam).
20 June: vs Zimbabwe (Harare Sports Club)
22 June: vs USA (Takashinga Sports Club, Harare)
24 June: vs Nepal (Takashinga Sports Club)
26 June: vs West Indies (Takashinga Sports Club)
The side will also play two warm-up matches on 13 and 15 June against Sri Lanka and Ireland, both at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo.
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