Photo Credit: Cricket Netherlands
In roughly six weeks, Iris Zwilling was not only nominated as ICC Player of the Month (August), but also crowned Player of the Tournament in the European T20 World Cup Qualifier in Spain. Who is she, how did she come into contact with cricket and how does she see the Dutch team’s chances during the Global Qualifier in February 2024? A closer introduction.
Iris, how did you get into cricket and what has particularly helped your development as a player?
My elder brother and sister both played cricket and as the youngest you always want to do what your elder brother and sister are doing. So that’s how I started playing cricket at the age of six with the Friday Evening Competition (VAC) at HCC.
My development as a player started at HCC. Here I was lucky with very good and fanatical coaches who saw potential in me and therefore invested a lot of time in me. This provided a good basis for my technique from which I still benefit today.
Who do you talk to most about cricket?
My sister and teammate, Mikkie, is a big cricket fan. Just like me, she really enjoys training and playing matches, but we also like to sit on the couch and watch cricket together. We will of course provide the necessary comments and share our tactics. We also regularly discuss the latest cricket news over the telephone.
What is your best cricketing memory so far?
In 2019 I made my debut for the Dutch national team in La Manga during an ICC European World Cup Qualifier. After playing exciting matches against Scotland, we won this tournament and qualified for the Global Qualifiers that ultimately took place in Zimbabwe. Winning the tournament in which you made your debut makes such a special moment even more special.
You have been nominated as ICC Player of the Month and recently became Player of the Tournament.
Are you already walking next to your shoes?
I do not think so! I am of course proud of my performance and what I have achieved, but I always remain critical of my own game. Last tournament (the European Qualifier, ed.) I was very satisfied with my bowling performance, but in some matches I did not bat as I would have liked.
What steps can the Netherlands still take on the way to ‘the next level’?
Because there is little financial support for women’s cricket in the Netherlands, we lose many players when they finish their studies. After completing their studies, loans are no longer available and most people start a full-time job to make ends meet. This means that we constantly lose the more experienced players and therefore always keep a young and inexperienced team. It would be very helpful if there was more financial support, or job opportunities that made it easier to combine cricket with work, to retain more ladies so that we can continue to develop as individuals and as a team.
Another step that can still be taken is to hire a bowling coach. There are many talented bowlers in our team, but I think we can develop much further by working on our technique with a specialized coach.
How do you estimate the Netherlands’ chances for the Global Qualifier?
I find this question difficult to answer, because very little is known about our opponents and the structure of the tournament. In any case, I am confident that we will make it very difficult for our opponents. Last summer we showed that we are a very strong and competitive team. This winter we will work hard to put the finishing touches on it so that we are completely ready for the Global Qualifier in February 2024.