Friday, May 24, 2024

ICC: ‘Greatest Dutch squad ever’ ready for Ireland challenge

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Photo Credit: Cricket Netherlands

The Netherlands enter the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 with the greatest squad in their history, according to coach Ryan Campbell ahead of their opener against Ireland.

The Netherlands enter the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 with the greatest squad in their history, according to coach Ryan Campbell ahead of their opener against Ireland.  

With all-time great Ryan ten Doeschate preparing for his swansong, and a host of English county cricket stalwarts, the Dutch will not lack belief in the UAE.  

And while Campbell joked that his side will be underdogs as Associate members in a Group A that features full members Ireland and Sri Lanka, he is setting his sights on a place in the Super 12s – which will require a fast start against the Irish at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. 

Campbell said: “I’ve put a tag on this squad as the greatest we’ve ever assembled in the Netherlands. With that comes its own pressures and it puts pressure on myself but that is the belief I have in this squad.   

“We have two full members in our group, so of course they should go through. Us little fellas, the Netherlands and Namibia, we may be here to make up the group but let me tell you, we’ve got a bit of fight about us.   

“If either of those teams don’t show up, they are in a lot of trouble. We’ve shown that against Ireland a number of times, the Netherlands have shown that we show up on the big stage, but we have our own pressures.   

“We want to be known as one of the great teams around the world, we don’t want to be just an associate team. Our history says we win one game against England every now and again in a World Cup but we don’t want to known as a one-off wonder. We want to compete with everyone.   

“So I think the pressure is also on us because we want to be in the final 12 and go up against the big boys.”  

Ireland may be full ICC members these days, but that promotion actually means that the Dutch have the edge in terms of county experience, with Irish players now considered overseas players when it comes to the English domestic game.  

While Paul Stirling has been doing his stuff in The Hundred and for Middlesex, as a whole, this Irish squad has not had as much chance to play top-level cricket as they might have done heading into previous World Cups.  

And coach Graham Ford admits that is a disadvantage against a team like the Netherlands, albeit one that he believes his team can overcome.  

He said: “Without a doubt, it’s a huge plus for them to have had seven or eight guys involved in The Hundred, they’ve got guys involved in county cricket which keeps them match sharp and keeps their skills sharp.   

“So they have a big advantage there. It’s something we used to have so it’s quite disappointing to not have that. But it’s about how we go and play on the day. Our guys have worked really hard. They have gained something out of that (experience) but it doesn’t mean we can’t beat them.  

“We have done a fair amount of homework looking at how the pitches have played over the IPL. The powerplay is always important, the powerplay and the death overs are massively important in T20 cricket. Start well and finish well and you’ve got a pretty good chance. They will be important, but every ball in 20-over cricket is a major event and if you’re winning every ball, you’ve got.

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