Netherland captain wary of playing in contrasting conditions at Wednesday’s day game against Zimbabwe
Like most Associates, the Netherlands relies heavily on a lot of ‘imported’ talent to further its cricketing cause. Many of the Associate nations have in its midst players who have been born elsewhere and have moved to the country they are representing now, either to enhance their cricketing prospects or for job opportunities, or whose families have migrated in the past for various reasons.
Some of the most influential Netherlands players have been born outside the Netherlands – Wesley Barresi, the wicketkeeper, is South African by birth, Tom Cooper was born in New South Wales, Michael Swart, the offspinner and opening batsman who was born in Perth has played competitively for Western Australia, while Mudassar Bukhari, the paceman, has Pakistani roots, having been born in Punjab more than 30 summers back.
This diversity within the Netherlands ranks has only served to bring the team together, opening its eyes to various cultures and offering them an insight into what makes people from different backgrounds tick. “Dealing with it (the diversity) is not a problem, we are all representing Holland,” said Peter Borren, the Netherlands captain. “We have got guys from different backgrounds, yes, but every one of the guys has lived in Holland or do live in Holland or play club cricket in Holland. Although Tommy (Tom Cooper), for example, may have flown in yesterday, he has also played three-four years of club cricket in Holland. Everyone knows each other pretty well, we have no problems with our diversity. We enjoy having people from different places and different cultures as well. Everyone gives each other a hard time but mostly in good humour.”
One of the most accomplished Netherlands player, an indigenous product at that, is Ryan ten Doeschate, the allrounder who is a canny bowler and an excellent batsman. Ten Doeschate, however, hasn’t made himself available to play for the national team for some three years now, opting instead to pursue his professional career in England, Australia, India, New Zealand – across the world, actually. Borren said the Netherlands did miss ten Doeschate’s class and skills, but quickly pointed out that the team has learned to live without him.
“He hasn’t played since 2011, so I guess we are pretty used to that,” Borren said, on the eve of his team’s ICC World Twenty20 2014 Group B qualifying fixture against Zimbabwe on Wednesday (March 19). “Obviously he is a fantastic cricketer and we would love to have him here because he wins games of cricket. But in saying that, we are very used to it. We have played a lot of cricket in the last three-four years without Ryan. Hopefully one day he is keen but if he is not, we are pretty used to it.”
The Netherlands kicked off its Group B campaign with a six-wicket win over the United Arab Emirates under lights on Monday, while Wednesday’s game will be a day game against Zimbabwe, who must win to keep its hopes alive. The challenges will be myriad and different, Borren conceded, and said his team was prepared for what lay ahead. “It is going to be different. Definitely, the conditions will change a little bit,” he agreed. “There was a bit of dew out there (in the night), I think the ball came on to the bat pretty well.
“In the earlier match, perhaps the ball held up a little bit more during the day. In saying that, it was obviously a very good wicket for batting as well, a fantastic game, Zimbabwe-Ireland. We saw both batting teams prosper. It is going to be pretty similar but maybe a little bit more hard work with the ball not coming on quite as much during the day. It’s going to be a tough game against a team we haven’t played very often. Having seen them play a warm-up game and now this match, we can say that they have a varied attack, they have got a lot of variations in their attack and they have got a very dangerous batting line-up. They will be disappointed about this game (losing to Ireland) and they will come hard at us.”
One of the talking points in the Netherlands’ run-in to the World T20 was its misfiring batting unit. Its chase of 152 against UAE was professional and clinically executed, something Borren took great heart from. “Obviously in the end, it was a pretty comfortable victory. The conditions and the wicket were pretty good for batting, we actually felt that in the first innings, and I was very, very happy walking off at half time chasing 150,” he said. “We have talked about those run chases not going so well, so hopefully we have put that to bed now. We have done this comfortably, so hopefully we have a blueprint going forward.”