The Netherlands’ preparations for their Super League series against Afghanistan suffered a further blow on Wednesday with the announcement that opener Max O’Dowd would not after all be joining the party in Qatar.
Revealed by men’s team manager Jeroen Smits as the squad was about to embark at Schiphol Airport, O’Dowd’s absence further weakens a batting line-up which is without such seasoned players as Ben Cooper, Steph Myburgh and Roelof van der Merwe.
In a carefully-worded statement Smits explained:
‘The demands on players to prepare and play international cricket are challenging and the pandemic has made this even more difficult. Travel restrictions, long quarantine periods and time away from family and friends have put a huge strain on everyone.
‘The primary focus of the KNCB has always been the mental health and welfare of players and staff,
‘For this reason, we have decided that Max will stay in New Zealand and not travel to Qatar to join the team.’
New Zealand-based O’Dowd played club cricket in the Netherlands last summer and was in the Dutch sides which took part in the World T20 Cup in the UAE in October and the aborted Super League series in South Africa the following month.
He has developed into a key member of the side, scoring 1506 runs over the past three years at an average of 40.70 and hitting two centuries and 11 fifties in 41 innings.
His replacement in the squad for the Afghanistan series will be HCC left-hander Musa Nadeem Ahmad, whose only game for the Netherlands so far was the last of the Super League matches against Ireland in June.
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