The Netherlands are set to return to international cricket for the first time since their historic ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup campaign in October and November last year with a tour to Nepal starting on February 15.
The tri-series, which involves hosts Nepal and Namibia, will be the first set of fixtures of the eight-team World Cricket League 2’s new cycle with the top four teams eventually qualifying for the World Cup Qualifier in 2026.
The first leg of the tour will see each team playing four ODIs followed by a T20I series that runs from February 27 to March 5. The T20I leg will end a 15-month gap since the Dutch last played in the shortest format: a historic 16-run win against South Africa at the 2022 T20 World Cup.
While the dates are yet to be confirmed, a source from the Dutch cricket association KNCB confirmed to Dutch News that the Netherlands will then travel to Uganda in March for another T20I tri-series involving the hosts and Oman.
Before the 20-team T20 World Cup in June co-hosted by the USA and West Indies, the Dutch will round off their preparations by playing hosts to Scotland and Ireland from May 19-26 at the VRA Cricket Ground in Amstelveen.
World Cup draw confirmed
By virtue of finishing in the top eight of the last edition in Australia, the Dutch earned automatic qualification for the T20 World Cup in June and are set to take on South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Drawn in Group D, the Netherlands will kick start their campaign against Nepal on June 4 in Dallas before moving to New York to take on South Africa (June 8). The squad will then travel to the Caribbean for their next two fixtures against Bangladesh (June 13) and Sri Lanka (June 17) in the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia.
11-day camp in South Africa
The men’s team warmed up for the upcoming assignments with a 11-day camp in South Africa last month, which included several members of the wider squad, with friendly fixtures against some of the SA20* sides and DP World Lions, a Johannesburg-based domestic side.
The Dutch lost all their five fixtures against the SA20 teams but managed to close out the tour with a seven-wicket win over the Lions. Following the camp, several squad members in vice captain Max O’Dowd, Vivian Kingma, Noah Croes and Shariz Ahmad stayed back to train at the Gary Kirsten Academy in Cape Town.
“There were loads of different things the guys wanted to try and play around with and those fixtures were the opportunity to give it a go,” O’Dowd told Dutch News from Cape Town before flying out to Nepal.
“We tried a bunch of different options with guys like Noah (Croes), Teja (Nidamanuru), Michael Levitt and Vikram Singh opening the batting. The key takeaway was that things can happen so quickly in T20s. If your execution and your strategy plans aren’t right, the best players in the world are going to get you.
“[A key focus has been on] gaining clarity in what our options are. Sometimes in T20 cricket you can overthink ideas and you end up doing things you don’t have to do.
“Another focus has been on upskilling ourselves in certain areas which are going to be important in the West Indies where you can play on slower wickets. We try to incorporate a bit of everything but a lot of it is understanding what you require in the powerplay, overs 7-10, 11-15 and then at the death.”
Squad for Nepal tour
The ODI squad, which landed in Kathmandu on Sunday morning, is headlined by maiden senior call-ups for fast-bowler Kyle Klein and Hermes DVS Schiedam’s all-rounder Olivier Elenbaas.
Left-arm quick Fred Klaassen, who is set to play his first competitive fixture in eight months having recovered from a stress fracture, and Timm van der Gugten, a veteran of 50 Internationals, have been included in the T20I squad while left-arm spinner Daniel Doram will travel as a reserve.
Fast bowlers Paul van Meekeren (personal reasons) and Brandon Glover (injury) withdrew after being initially included. Logan van Beek and Colin Ackermann will miss the tour owing to commitments with Wellington and Durham while Bas de Leede, who was named as the ICC Men’s Associate Cricketer of the Year, will fly to Harare after the ODIs to join Durham’s pre-season camp.
Head coach Ryan Cook, who coached the Sunrisers Eastern Cape to back-to-back titles in the SA20, will be joined by assistant coaches Ryan van Niekerk and Heino Kuhn.
League 2: Scott Edwards (C), Max O’Dowd, Vikramjit Singh, Shariz Ahmad, Wesley Barresi, Noah Croes, Aryan Dutt, Olivier Elenbaas, Sybrand Engelbecht, Viv Kingma, Kyle Klein, Bas de Leede, Michael Levitt, Roelof van der Merwe, Teja Nidamanuru.
T20Is: Scott Edwards (C), Max O’Dowd, Vikramjit Singh, Shariz Ahmad, Wesley Barresi, Noah Croes, Aryan Dutt, Sybrand Engelbecht, Viv Kingma, Kyle Klein, Michael Levitt, Roelof van der Merwe, Teja Nidamanuru, Fred Klaassen, Timm van der Gugten, Daniel Doram (reserve).
*SA20 is South Africa’s premier T20 franchise tournament whose second edition concluded on February 10.