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Feature

'Why not come to Holland for ten days before they travel to England?'

Paul van Meekeren suggests Dutch warm-ups for other teams in bid to get more international cricket for Netherlands

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
27-Oct-2022
Netherlands pace bowler Paul van Meekeren has called on the major cricketing nations to use Netherlands as a stopping-off point on their way to England tours, as a way of helping boost the amount of international cricket available to them.
The volume of bilateral cricket Netherlands will play against the leading teams in the coming years is uncertain with the discontinuation of the ODI Super League, which has guaranteed them 24 matches in the current cycle. They have played 15 in 2022, their most for a calendar year, including home series against West Indies, England and Pakistan.
While all the games this year have been lost they came close to beating Pakistan, and captain Scott Edwards previously talked about the importance of the Super League in helping develop depth in Netherlands cricket. Van Meekeren believes their competitiveness on the field and the facilities available would make it an ideal lead-in to an England series rather than playing county sides.
"There's no reason why Test teams can't come to Holland instead of playing the counties," he said, speaking after the match against India at the SCG. "We've got the facilities. I think this year hopefully we showed how good the wickets are in Holland. I think the practice wickets were outstanding back home, and we played some competitive games.
"We can be as competitive as playing the warm-up game against other counties. Why not come to Holland for ten days before they travel to England?"
On the field in Sydney, the result went the expected way, with India coming out winners by 56 runs in the first T20I between the teams, and just the third international meeting overall, but with the ball Netherlands made them work hard.
India were kept to 32 for 1 in the powerplay - van Meekeren removed KL Rahul lbw, although replays showed it was missing - and it should have been two wickets in the first six but Tim Pringle shelled Rohit Sharma. After 10 overs it was 67 for 1, and that many only because the 10th over cost 14 runs. Predictably with wickets in hand India accelerated, but they were kept to 26 fewer than South Africa had been by Bangladesh on the same surface although van Meekeren had mixed emotions.
"If we're being honest to ourselves, [we would have liked] probably a little bit less, especially after the first 10 overs," he said. "Obviously, we didn't take the wickets that we wanted to, which gives them the freedom to play as they did at the back [end].
"Yeah, we're being hard on ourselves. I guess you can't miss by a centimetre...you're in trouble. Bowling against the best players in the world, even if you miss a little bit, you just go.
"I personally did it three times, and I'm sure some of the other bowlers might feel the same about their own bowling. But I think, firstly, I'm very proud about how we went about it. Them being one down [at the halfway stage], it could have been a lot more.
"We could have panicked and lost our heads, but I think all the bowlers stayed very clear on what they wanted to do. Sometimes you get it wrong and you're in trouble, and sometimes you execute and it's only a dot ball no matter how good they are."
On the overall experience of playing India in front of 36,000 spectators, van Meekeren said it would take a little time to process.
"I said this would be a day I'd tell my grandkids about, and it is playing against India, but at the end of the day you are playing against 11 other men, they aren't gods or anything. You just compete men to men and that's what we tried to do today.
"You try to block the noise out. You watch it on TV about 100 times and just to be there is very special. I think in the moment I probably didn't realise it as much, and it will probably sink in in the next 24 hours."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo