Australia in England 2009 August 11, 2009

'Dutch' Nannes thrilled at career twist

The Dirk Nannes story is already a unique one but it could become even more remarkable if he makes a positive debut in Australian colours. Should Nannes thrive in the Twenty20s against England following the Ashes, he may go on to hold the rare honour of playing in two World Cups in the space of a year - for two different countries.

Nannes had given up hope of playing for Australia, the nation of his birth, when he wasn't named in the 30-man preliminary squad for this year's World Twenty20 despite being one of the most fearsome short-format bowlers in the world. But a Dutch passport - his parents migrated to Australia before he was born - allowed him to make his international debut for Netherlands in the Twenty20 tournament.

Fast-forward two months and Nannes has received a belated call-up for Australia, who bombed out without winning a game, as they plan for the next World Twenty20 to be held in the West Indies early next year. Cricket Australia's general manager of cricket Michael Brown delivered the news on Monday to Nannes, who now has a chance to impress in a pair of games against England at Old Trafford.

"I was sitting at home and the phone rang and it was Michael Brown," Nannes said. "He normally calls either if you're selected or you've done something wrong. I was scratching my brain to work out what I'd done wrong because I had no idea there were even Twenty20s in England."

Unlike any of his Australian team-mates, Nannes has experience of beating England in a Twenty20 this year as part of the Netherlands side that recorded a historic victory over England at Lord's to kick off the World Twenty20 with a bang. Nannes said he had no regrets about turning out for Netherlands, which he said had been "a super plus for me".

"Playing for Holland was certainly unique because everyone there, they're all amateurs," Nannes said. "I was playing with a Burger King manager and a debt collector and an insurance salesman and they were just having fun playing cricket and got to go to a World Cup.

"That moment of winning the game for Holland against England at Lord's was the best sporting moment I've had. I'll never forget that, that's for sure. I've made some good friends there as well. It's a super plus for me that I've done that. Who knows whether I would have been selected [for Australia] if I didn't play for them. The selectors mightn't have seen me play at the highest level."

Nannes' two Twenty20 internationals for Netherlands do not disqualify him from playing for Australia because Netherlands is an ICC Associate member rather than a full Test-playing nation. However, once he debuts for Australia, Nannes would need to wait to requalify for any future appearances for Netherlands.

Although Nannes will play for two countries within the space of three months, it is not a record short time for switching allegiances. Earlier this year, Eoin Morgan made his one-day international debut for England seven weeks after playing his last ODI for his country of birth, Ireland. However, Nannes, 33, will be the first man to play Twenty20 internationals for two different countries.

Should he impress the selectors and win a place in next year's World Twenty20, he will also hold the distinction of representing Australia in World Cups in two different sports, having previously been a World Cup skier. But for now, Nannes is simply hoping to blitz England in the two games at Old Trafford.

"If I keep playing well, who knows, maybe I'll get selected [for the World Twenty20]," he said. "But at the end of the day if I've still played for Australia that's something that I'm absolutely rapt with and hopefully I do well."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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