Netherlands captain, Peter Borren, is not expecting an easy task when his weakened side takes on Canada in the opening game of their ICC Intercontinental Cup campaign in Rotterdam on Wednesday.
The match is Netherlands' first in the competition since they finished fifth in the previous tournament and they haven't played any cricket since August 2008, when they hosted Kenya. Rustiness, however, isn't Netherlands' biggest problem for they are without experienced players such as Ryan ten Doeschate, Alex Kervezee (on county duty with Essex and Worcestershire respectively), Mudassar Bukhari and Bas Zuiderent.
"It won't be an easy task as we will be without our experienced batsmen like Doeschate, Schiferli, Kervezee, Bukhari and Zuiderent," Borren said. "But we have tried to bolster our batting as much as possible by strengthening the middle order.
"It will all be about seeing through the new ball and the batsmen can do it by showing application and discipline. Of course, it is easier said than done considering the batsmen haven't played any four-day cricket in nearly 12 months but we have to switch to the four-day mode and this is where it all starts."
Borren was confident that Netherlands' batsmen would be able to counter Canada's in-form bowlers. "Canada is a good bowling side with bowlers like Henry Osinde, Umar Bhatti and Khurram Chohan. We have seen a lot of the Canada players in the limited overs version and have the highest respect for them. We know what they are capable of which makes it easier for us to put together a game plan. But making a strategy and implementing it are two different things."
Canada go into the contest having lost an Intercontinental Cup fixture in Scotland by 29 runs, a match in which their bowlers impressed but their batsmen struggled, managing totals of only 142 and 213. They fared better in the one-day series, though, which was drawn 1-1, with Sandeep Jyoti hitting a match-winning 117 in the first game and Sunil Dhaniram making 92 in the second.
The tour of Netherlands started poorly with a loss in the first ODI on Saturday and a washout on Sunday but Canada's captain Umar Bhatti remained positive. "We can take a lot of heart and encouragement from our batting performance in the last three ODIs. I'm confident the batsmen will carry that form into the four-day version and help us end the European tour on a winning note," Bhatti said.
"I think the wicket will help the batsmen more than the bowlers which should give more confidence to the batsmen. In a longer version of the game, the batsmen have to put big totals on the board and the bowlers have to take wickets. It's as simple as that. Our bowling has been up to the mark and it is now up to the batsmen to make sure we have enough runs on the board."
Netherlands: Peter Borren (capt), Mark Jonkman, Pieter Seelar, Wesley Barresi, Tom de Grooth, Bart Schilperord, Nick Statham, Eric Szwarczynski, Berend Westdijk, Daan van Bunge, Jeroen Brand.
Canada: Umar Bhatti (capt), Zameer Zahir, Havir Baidwan, Geoff Barnett, Trevin Bastiampillai, Sandeep Jvoti, Sunil Dhaniram, Shaheeb Keshvani, Khurram Chauhan, Ashif Mulla, Henry Osinde, Qaiser Ali, Rizwan Cheema, Abdool Samad.