Netherlands captain Peter Borren has his sights set on victory ahead of the ICC World Cricket League Division One from July 1 to 10. Having finished third both in 2007 in Nairobi and in 2009 in South Africa, his side is eager to go all the way, especially so being the hosts.
"Things like the development of the side and preparations for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 can be put on a hold for the time being," Borren said. "The immediate task is to play and perform in the most important and competitive tournament featuring the top Associate and Affiliate sides. It is imperative for us to not only do well but win it. I'll be extremely disappointed if we don't win this tournament.
"It is a great opportunity for us to play in this tournament where every match is an ODI. We need to make optimum use of this great opportunity and give a good account of ourselves," he said.
Netherlands have a strong ODI record against Associates, and go into the tournament on a high, following the six-wicket victory against Scotland in Rotterdam last Tuesday. "We have a very settled side in one-day cricket and we've been gelling very nicely as a team. We've always done reasonably well in ICC events against the other top Associates so I think we'll be very competitive, especially considering we'll have home advantage," Borren said.
His side have some injury woes to deal with since they will be without top players like Ryan ten Doeschate, Edgar Schiferli and Daan van Bunge, while Alex Kervezee will not be around for the initial part of the tournament. Borren acknowledged that these players were "hard to replace".
"I realise we will be without some of our star performers due to injuries or other commitments. I also understand that experience is difficult to replace but we have players in our ranks who have the required skills and talent to deliver the goods at this level. We have played without these players recently and have enjoyed some success which has been excellent for the confidence of the younger players," he said.
Schiferli has been out of action with a knee injury since the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in the United Arab Emirates, while ten Doeschate picked up an injury while playing for Essex in the English County Championships. van Bunge is not available due to work commitments and Kervezee is tied up with his commitments Worcestershire commitments.
"Kervezee has commitments with his clubs in England. Look, the players have shown a lot of commitment to Dutch cricket and we'd just love to have them. But as an Associate Member, you can't have everything. You need to live with these facts and the reality is Kervezee will only be available for a maximum of two matches.
"The younger players have shown a lot of potential, especially Mark Jonkman who has blossomed under the wing of Schiferli and is now ready to stamp his mark at the bigger stage. He is fast and keeps coming back at the batsmen. He is an excellent bowler in the death overs. As far as I'm concerned, he is the one to watch out for in this tournament," Borren said.
Borren believed his side was well-prepared for the tournament. "We have been playing a lot of limited-overs cricket this season with our involvement in the Clydesdale Bank Pro40 competition in England and this has really helped us.
"We have been playing pretty well in that - we beat Derbyshire and we should have won a couple of other games too but we couldn't quite get over the line. We hadn't played in an English competition for years and we saw how much it did for cricket in Ireland and Scotland so it's great to be involved in that. I think all this has been good preparation for the World Cricket League."
Borren however was quick to acknowledge that it will be a keenly contested tournament. "Ireland has done well over the years at this level while Afghanistan is another dangerous side. However, I think all the sides will start on an even keel as they are all evenly matched. I think it will boil down to the fact which side adjusts quickly to the conditions, handles the pressure, plays to its strengths and converts the opportunities."
He also refused to make much out of his side's home advantage. "It can be a double-edged sword. While you're best placed to understand the weather and your knowledge about the pitches and their characters are second to none, on the other side of the coin when you're playing at home there are so many things that are running in your mind like work commitments which can easily distract you."
Squad: Peter Borren (capt), Tom de Grooth, Mark Jonkman, Pieter Seelaar, Eric Szwarczynski, Mudassar Bukhari, Atse Buurman, Tom Cooper, Adeel Raja, Maurits Jonkman, Muhammad Kashif, Alex Kervezee, Bradley Kruger, Nicolas Statham, Bas Zuiderent.