Depleted Dutch start Intercontinental Cup campaign
Not for the first time, The Netherlands will go into their Intercontinental Cup match against Canada in Rotterdam on Wednesday with a seriously depleted team.
No fewer of six of the twelve-man squad which took on the Canadians in the ODIs in Amstelveen at the weekend will be unavailable for this four-day match: Ryan ten Doeschate has returned to Essex, Alexei Kervezee is with the Under-19 side in Jersey, and four other players – captain Jeroen Smits, Bas Zuiderent, Edgar Schiferli and Mudassar Bukhari – will be absent because of work commitments.
The clash with the European Under-19 championships also means that Smits’ understudy behind the stumps, Stijn Allema, and the promising young allrounder Tim Gruijters cannot play against Canada.
So there will be first-class debuts for three newcomers: Hermes wicketkeeper Bart Schilperoord, Quick Haag allrounder Jeroen Brand, and HBS opening bowler Berend Westdijk.
VRA opening batsman Wesley Barresi, who played first-class cricket in South Africa before moving to The Netherlands, will play in the full Dutch side for the first time, and there’s a recall for HCC seamer Mark Jonkman, who last played for his country against the Canadians two years ago.
The Dutch top six of Tom de Grooth, Barresi, Eric Szwarczynski, Nick Statham, Daan van Bunge and skipper Peter Borren is certainly capable of making plenty of runs, but the Canadian seam attack of Henry Osinde, Umar Bhatti, Khurram Chohan and Rizwan Cheema, who took 17 Scottish wickets between them in the defeat in Aberdeen last week, will be keen to work their way through the more experienced batsmen and expose the much more vulnerable lower order.
Canada, too, are at less than full strength, with captain Ash Bagai only available for the ODIs because of his own business commitments, John Davison and Ian Bilcliff unavailable for the tour, and Abdool Samad a late withdrawal because of injury.
Their batsmen struggled against Scotland, with Sandeep Jyoti’s second-innings 47 their highest score of the match, and Borren will be hoping that his new-ball pairing of Westdijk and Jonkman, supported by his own medium pace, that of Brand and perhaps the deceptively innocuous seam bowling of Barresi, will cause them equal difficulty.
And in left-arm spinner Pieter Seelaar he has one of the most improved players in Associates’cricket, even if he has recently fallen short of the terrific form with the ball which he displayed last season.
Canada have a useful left-armer of their own in the experienced Sunil Dhaniram, and how these two make use of the conditions at Hazelaarweg may turn out to be a crucial element in the game.