ICC World Cup squad profile: Netherlands will be happy to pull off a surprise
This will be the fifth appearance for the Orange Army, more famous globally as a football superpower
The presence of associate member countries in the ICC World Cups have always evoked the quintessential underdog theme. It’s not going to be any different when The Netherlands, who qualified for their fifth appearance in the 50-overs extravaganza, take on Pakistan in their opener later this week.
Led by Scott Edwards, 39th in ICC batters’ rankings in ODIs, the Dutch booked their place in the showpiece after finishing second to Sri Lanka in the World Cup qualifiers earlier this year, being the only associate nation to feature in this edition.
Despite occasionally punching above their weight in the T20 format (like their shock win over South Africa in the group stages in the T20 World Cup last year), they have not progressed beyond the group stages of the 50-overs event so far. In fact, they have only won two matches in all their appearances — one against Namibia in 2003 and the other against Scotland in 2007 — and will be happy to add one more to the tally in the upcoming tournament.
In an attempt to put their best foot forward, the team management drafted in the experienced duo of Roelof van der Merwe and Colin Ackermann, who were not on the roster for the qualifiers.
Both van der Merwe and Ackermann bring a wealth of experience to the team, the latter being the second leading run-scorer for the Netherlands in World T20 last year. Van der Merwe, meanwhile, provided some handy cameos with bat, ball and in the field. Both players also have plenty of experience in franchise competitions around the world.
The Netherlands will be hoping that opening batter Max O'Dowd can contribute throughout the tournament, while star allrounder Bas de Leede is expected to play a major role with both bat and ball.
Left-arm quick Fred Klaassen, meanwhile, is ruled out with a stress fracture. ‘’Obviously, Fred would be gutted to miss out. He would have been a big part of the bowling attack,’’ head coach Ryan Cook told the ICC website.
Sybrand Engelbrecht, meanwhile, comes into the squad for the first time and will play his first senior World Cup after shining at the U-19 Cricket World Cup in 2008 for South Africa.
There are also two development players, Kyle Klein and Noah Croes, who may not be drafted in as injury replacements but are travelling to gain experience.
Netherlands squad: Scott Edwards (c), Max O'Dowd, Bas de Leede, Vikram Singh, Teja Nidamanuru, Paul van Meekeren, Colin Ackermann, Roelof van der Merwe, Logan van Beek, Aryan Dutt, Ryan Klein, Wesley Barresi, Saqib Zulfiqar, Shariz Ahmad, Sybrand Engelbrecht.
Best performance: Group stages in 1996, 2003, 2007, 2011.