Denise Hannema to captain Dutch Lionesses
The KNCB has announced that 21-year-old opener Denise Hannema will be the new captain of the women’s international side, succeeding Helmien Rambaldo, who indicated some time ago that she wished to stand down.
Rambaldo will continue as vice-captain in what could be a crucial rebuilding season for the Lionesses, who will be without Violet Wattenberg and Marijn Nijman, both of whom have retired from international cricket, as well as New Zealanders Esther Lanser and Kerry Tomlinson, as they move up another level in the restructured ECB county championship.
Hannema said this week that she was delighted to have the chance to lead the side.
‘I know I’m still young,’ she said, ‘but I am absolutely ready for the task, and I think it’s a tremendous challenge to help develop a new team.
‘I’m very pleased that Helmien will be supporting me, and her influence will undoubtedly be important as I work my way into the role.’
The women’s side, which lost its ODI status in the World Cup qualifying tournament in Bangladesh in October, will also have a new coach this season in Fazil Mahmoud, who has plenty of experience of coaching in both the Netherlands and Belgium.
‘We have a good crop of young players in the team,’ Mahmoud says, ‘and all of them are eager to work hard and more importantly for each other – they seem to have a strong bond and are aware of the requirements to working towards getting back that ODI status over the next four years.
‘I am also looking forward to the challenge and am fortunate to be taking over a happy and settled group of players.’
With the Dutch able to field an overseas player in the ECB county championship and the Twenty20 competition – in which they headed their group last season – three Australian players who will be based in the Netherlands this year have been added to the squad.
They are Tasmanian allrounder Linsey da Costa, who will be playing for Ajax Oegstgeest, and Kampong Utrecht pair Naomi Stalenberg and Clare Crewdson. Crewdson already has experience of county cricket, having played for Kent in Division 1 in the past two seasons, while Stalenberg, who has a Dutch passport, could be eligible to play as a national not only in the ECB competitions, but also in the European Women’s Twenty20 tournament in Belfast in August.
Hannema’s side is likely to include several of those who played regularly in Bangladesh, notably Carlijn de Groot, Miranda Veringmeier – who will take over the wicketkeeping duties from Wattenberg – seamers Mariska Kornet and Laura Brouwers, and spinners Esther de Lange and Leonie Bennett. Maxime Entrop and Hannah Hofman may well assume a more established place in the team, while there are certain to be opportunities in the course of the season for some of the Development Squad to claim a place in the full side.
The Lionesses will open their County Championship campaign on the weekend of 5 and 6 May with matches against Devon in Plympton and Staffordshire at Old Hill.