The news that Dutch international Daan van Bunge has declared his availability for the coming season is a piece of encouraging news for new national coach Peter Drinnen.
Van Bunge shocked the Dutch cricket community, and supporters of Associates cricket around the world, when he announced his withdrawal from the national squad in the aftermath of last year’s World Cup.
Only 24 at the time, Van Bunge attributed his departure to a loss of motivation, combined with the need to focus on developing a career as his ambition to break into the professional game appeared to be receding.
His absence certainly exacerbated the problems faced by interim coach Paul Jan Bakker, who had to begin rebuilding the side after a string of retirements and recurring issues of non-availability.
Van Bunge made a big impression with a record-breaking stint with the MCC Young Cricketers, but it is fair to day that he has not yet converted his undoubted talent into a series of convincing performances for the national side – he averages only 28.00 in first-class matches and 20.68 in ODIs, and his occasional leg-spin is equally known for 3-16 against England in the 2003 World Cup and for having been belted for six sixes in an over by Herschelle Gibbs last year.
He has been reasonably successful with the bat in the Hoofdklasse competition since joining Excelsior ’20 Schiedam in 2006, making 1003 runs at an average of 34.59. He has passed fifty nine times in 30 innings, but has yet to record a century since his return from Lords.
In a statement to the Dutch-language website Cricket Nederland, Van Bunge says that after ten months devoted to work and study, he has recovered his appetite for the international game.
He had discussions with Drinnen and the management of the Dutch side during the former’s visit to The Netherlands last week, and will now be tackling a special fitness programme under the guidance of specialist coach Troy Douglas.
The selectors will then need to decide at what point they reintroduce him into the team. The timescale may be too short for the four-day matches in Namibia and the Gulf at the end of March, but with a busy schedule in the summer, Van Bunge is sure to get his chance before long.