ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features
ICC World Cup 2011
'I've wanted to play for England since the beginning'
Alexei Kervezee is one of the potential stars of the Netherlands' World Cup campaign. He spoke to George Dobell ahead of their tournament opener against England
February 21, 2011
Alexei Kervezee made more than 1000 runs in the County Championship last season and he has some big aims for his career
The aimIt will make a massive difference if we can win a few games. Then we'll be able to turn round to the ICC and say 'Hey, why aren't you including us in the next World Cup?' We want to qualify for the next round. So, realistically, we have to win our game against Ireland, repeat our victory over Bangladesh [July 2010] and hopefully pull off a stunt against one of the other sides.
Who will be the stars? It's hard to say. We've a young side, quite different from the last World Cup. But Ryan ten Doeschate could be a big player for us. I'll be opening the batting. Yes, that's a bit different from my role at Worcestershire, but I've opened for a while in ODI cricket and it's the best position to bat in India. The ball comes on to the gap and the fields are in, so ...
OpportunityThis is a massive opportunity for us individually and as a team. If we do well, we know the whole world is watching. It's a massive stage. I'm relishing the prospect of taking on Morkel and Steyn with the new ball. It's what you want to do as a sportsman: test yourself against the best. And I know if I do well, people will take notice. Our first game is against England and there can't be any better way of catching the eye of the selectors than by doing well against them.
ExperienceIt's strange. I may only be 21, but I guess I am one of the more experienced players. It's my second 50-over World Cup and I played the whole of last season with Worcestershire, which was really beneficial. I'd hardly played for them before last season - almost no limited-overs cricket - but I felt I learned masses and really progressed last year. It took me a while to understand the pace of the game, but I worked out you actually have a bit more time. There were some ups and down, but I scored a hundred against Lancashire in the final match, which was a great way to end the season.
PreparationIt's been pretty full on. We've been in Dubai and we've had net sessions, centre-wicket sessions and two-hour fielding sessions every day. I'll be fielding at backward point to start and then moving to the sweeper position. I can hold my own with the ball, but I'm concentrating on my batting now. It's very demanding to be an allrounder. The Irish, Canadian and Zimbabwean teams were all out there, too. If we play without fear, we can pull off a surprise or two. We all have a point to prove so we're going to go out and express ourselves and enjoy it.
EnglandI qualify for England in November, I think. Going on a tour next winter - be it the full side or the Lions - is an achievable ambition. I've wanted to play for England since the very beginning, so if I can build on last season, hopefully I can catch the eye of the selectors. I've not had any contact with them as yet. Yes, next season probably will be a bit tougher. Worcestershire are in the first division and bowlers will have had a look at me.
People tell me there's a massive difference between the divisions, but I don't know. While there are some very good bowlers in the second division, there tends to be a weak link in attacks. There aren't many weak links in the higher division, so you have to work that much harder for your runs. But I'm not worried at all. I'm really looking forward to the challenge. If my success last year means people expect more of me then great. I welcome the weight of expectation.
WorcestershireI signed a five-year contract extension at the end of last season. Why? Well, when I first came to the club as a 16- or 17-year-old, they were brilliant with me. They welcomed me with open arms and treated me like family. You remember those things. Everything is going well for me. I enjoy the dressing room, I have a flat in Worcester with my girlfriend and I'm playing regular first-team cricket. Why would I want to move?
So, when Steve Rhodes made me an offer, it was a no-brainer, really. He told me to go away and think about it for a day or two, but I didn't need to, really. As soon as the contract was offered, I knew I would sign it. We've a talented, young squad and I'm very confident we can do well in Division One next season.
Taken from the new issue of SPIN, in newsagents now. For subscriptions, see spincricket.com
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