हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

Dutch need more than courage at World Cup

Published: Monday, February 19, 2007, 22:49 [IST]
 
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The Hague:The Netherlands head to the World Cup as rank outsiders and will have to dig deep to avoid utter humiliation after being drawn with the top seeds, Australia and South Africa, in the group stages.

The Dutch are quoted at a massive 1,000-1 to win the 16-team tournament, and their long odds are truly justified.

Just one of the 15-strong squad, the South African-born Ryan ten Doeschate, plays first class cricket, in his case for Essex in the English county championship.

Indeed, even that the Dutch made this World Cup is a miracle, after a slump that saw them sneak in after the number of qualifying places for the sport's showpiece one-day international event was increased from three to five - the Dutch beat the United Arab Emirates to finish fifth.

Since that shock, Dutch selectors have had the courage to give youth its head and it now has the look of a well-balanced side, full of ability and application, but still lacking top-quality performers.

Ten Doeschate, who has Dutch ancestry and was playing for Western Province when picked up by Essex, lends a genuine solidity to the batting line-up and can also at times have a 'golden arm' with his medium-fast right-arm bowling.

He has played 11 one-day internationals for his adopted country, an unbeaten knock of 109 not out against Bermuda this month boosting his current ODI batting average to an impressive 55.12.

In that same game, he also snagged 3-27 to boost his wicket haul to 20 ODI wickets at 22.10.

With 21 Twenty20 games also under his belt, the Port Elizabeth-born all-rounder positively oozes experience of big game time in a team that is sorely lacking just that.

"We have been working very hard to get the formula right," ten Doeschate said before the recently-ended ICC World Cricket League Division 1 round-robin tournament in in Nairobi.

"We were on a recent tour to Pretoria and we devised a formula for one-day cricket that we think is going to work for us."

Ten Doeschate can rely on team-mates Bas Zuiderent - the former Sussex player, Tim de Leede and Daan van Bunge for support along the way while 17-year-old Alex Kervezee, who has signed for Worcestershire, looks to be a genuine prospect.

From once being the main sport in the Netherlands in the 1860s, cricket is now played by only 6,000 people in the country, but the national team participated in the 1996 and 2003 World Cups.

The Netherlands recorded their first ODI win in the latter, beating Namibia, but will likely struggle to hold their own against the last team in Group A, fellow qualifier Scotland.

They open their World Cup campaign against South Africa on March 16 in St Kitts, followed by Australia on March 18 and finally Scotland four days later.

The Squad:

Luuk van Troost (capt), Peter Borren, Daan van Bunge, Ryan ten Doeschate, Mark Jonkman, Muhammad Kashif, Alexei Kervezee, Tim de Leede, Adeel Raja, Darron Reekers, Edgar Schiferli, Jeroen Smits, Billy Stelling, Eric Szwarczynski and Bas Zuiderent

AFP

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