Dutch turn to Shahbaz Bashir
The Orange Lions resume their Clydesdale Bank 40 League campaign in the Amsterdamse Bos on Wednesday, taking on a Leicestershire side whom they beat convincingly at Grace Road a month ago.
The Dutch selectors have made one significant addition to their twelve-man squad, bringing in the 28-year-old Pakistan-born Rood en Wit allrounder Shahbaz Bashir in place of Ahsan Malik Jamil, who has been battling with a side injury. With key allrounder Mudassar Bukhari also less than fully fit, the experienced Shahbaz could prove a considerable asset against counties like Leicestershire.
There is also a recall for the experienced middle order batsman Tom de Grooth, but with the squad being cut down from thirteen there is no place this time for Quick Haag’s young allrounder Tim Gruijters.
Shahbaz has been playing in the Netherlands since 2005, when he joined VVV Amsterdam during their first season in the Hoofdklasse. He has since played for Rood en Wit during their sojourn in the Topklasse, and in the second division for Dosti Amsterdam.
In four seasons in the top flight he made 1677 runs at an average of 29.95, with two centuries and a highest score of 121 against VRA Amsterdam in 2005. He also took 70 wickets at 24.43, with best figures of six for 22 against VOC Rotterdam in 2010.
This season he has been playing for Rood en Wit in the SMT Shipping Hoofdklasse, and is one of the leading wicket-takers with 16 wickets at an average of 16.00. He has also played with success in the Dutch A team, most recently in the Continental Twenty20 Championship in Schiedam.
At the outset of his career, the Lahore-born Shahbaz played for district and regional teams in Lahore and Balochistan between 2002 and 2007, and has appeared in one previous List A game, for the PCB Greens against the PCB Blues in the 2002-02 Ramadan Cup.
A hard-hitting batsman and lively medium-pacer, he may well slot into a batting line-up which will also be without Tom Cooper, who is currently with the Australia A squad as it prepares for a four-match tour of England.
With four matches to play, the Orange Lions still head the Group A table, one of four teams who have lost two of their matches so far, and they will have a good chance of reaching the semi-finals for the first time if they can replicate the sort of form they showed in their two initial visits to England and put their most recent effort, against Worcestershire at Voorburg, firmly behind them.
Their opponents on Wednesday have lost all of their four matches in which there has been a result, and were beaten in Leicester by a century from opener Michael Swart , fifties from Cooper and Cameron Borgas and a solid performance in the field, despite a fighting 115 from their captain, Ramnaresh Sarwan.
The Dutch squad is: