ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
England v Netherlands, Group B, World Cup 2011, Nagpur
Netherlands can boost Associate image
Nagraj Gollapudi in Nagpur
February 21, 2011
It is a difficult time to be an Associate. With plans to curtail the number of teams to ten for the next edition of the World Cup, the ICC has inadvertently put a psychological burden on the shoulders of the four Associates participating in this edition. The heavy defeats suffered by Kenya and Canada on Sunday have only added to the pressure. So is it time for the Netherlands, who begin their campaign tomorrow against England, to step up the plate?
Peter Borren, the Netherlands captain, does not necessarily agree that his team need to win to prove the ICC or anybody else wrong. "The decision from the ICC will not have any effect on whether we should step up or not. We have taken a professional approach to our preparations. What might happen in 2015 will not matter going into tomorrow's game."
Borren, who has been laid low by an abdominal strain and failed to play in the warm-up matches, had his first complete training on Sunday and declared himself fit play as a batsman but won't bowl. He also had another take on the ICC move, when pushed to take a stand.
"It is hard to have an opinion until we need to prove ourselves out there on the field," he said. "Perhaps [then] we can make our own statement with regards to what happens in the future of the 50-over World Cup. The Associates offer a lot in a World Cup. Everyone enjoys the underdog doing well and there have been instances throughout all World Cups. We are hoping by pulling off some results that happened in the past we can then ask that question on the field."
One such upset happened when Netherlands shocked England at Lord's in the opening match of the 2009 World Twenty20. That four-wicket win remains fresh in the minds of both contestants with Andrew Strauss sounding out an alert to his players. "If we are 10 percent off and they [Holland] have a good day, we are in trouble," he said.
It was the first significant victory for Netherlands, who also got the better of Bangladesh last year in an ODI in Glasgow and Borren felt the team are in the right frame of mind. "We have prepared as well as we can. Obviously that night [against England] gives us little bit of the confidence going into tomorrow's fixture. With the confidence in the team and the preparation we have had in the last two years it would be nice to pull off a victory as we did two years ago."
Still it will be not an easy ride. Even if England enter the World Cup after a long Ashes tour and a 6-1 drubbing at the hands in the ODI series, they remain the favourites with numerous matchwinners in their ranks. Netherlands, meanwhile, will look to their key player in Ryan ten Doeschate, the Essex allrounder and Associate Player of the Year.
Though Borren said that all 15 squad members could create an impact, the numbers betray that confidence. Netherlands have had only five centurions in their ODI history and three of them are retired - although ten Doeschate has three tons to his name - and no bowler has ever taken a five-wicket haul.
The onus will be on ten Doeschate, Tom Cooper from South Australia and Worcestershire's Alexei Kervezee, the only professionals in the squad, to influence Netherland's chances. However, the other man who could play an important role is Bas Zuiderent who is the only Dutchman to play every World Cup match. He appeared in his first World Cup as an 18-year-old in 1996 and hit a fifty against England, 15 years to the day when the teams meet on Tuesday.
"If we can create pressure through disciplined bowling in our areas and fielding well I expect to create chances, but it is also about taking them," Borren said. Only a collective effort can ensure that Netherlands can celebrate more nights like the one on June 25, 2009 and force the ICC to not dim the lights on them.