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Meet Logan van Beek, New Zealand's Dutch export, who is back down under again

The allrounder played U-19 cricket for New Zealand, now represents Netherlands, and is hoping to get back in black to play senior cricket for New Zealand again

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
Logan van Beek points at the camera, Wellington vs Canterbury, Super Smash, Wellington, January 9, 2020

Do I know you? van Beek's tour of New Zealand is also a reunion with friends  •  Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

When Logan van Beek, 31, took the field for Netherlands in Mount Maunganui on Tuesday, he was playing an away ODI in his home country.
Confused? Don't be.
van Beek, a fast-bowling allrounder born and raised in Christchurch, holds a Netherlands passport because his father is of Dutch descent, and that makes him eligible to play for Netherlands. Eight years after he first played for them, he was back home playing an ODI in New Zealand this week.
It was a special moment for the family. His parents, used to waking up in the wee hours to watch him play, were at the Bay Oval in person this time.
As the players took the field, some in the opposition ranks might have been a tad nostalgic too. New Zealand captain Tom Latham, Matt Henry, and Michael Bracewell used to be housemates with van Beek a few years ago.
Also among his friends in the opposition was Henry Nicholls, van Beek's childhood cricket buddy, with whom he first hit cricket balls with a plastic bat. Nicholls' and van Beek's older brothers were friends and team-mates, and that relationship helped their younger siblings develop a connection too.
"When I finished school and moved out of home, I moved into Tom Latham's house in Christchurch," van Beek said when interviewed ahead of the three-match ODI series. "Matt Henry was the third flatmate and we lived together for four amazing years. It was easily the most fun time of our lives. Three great mates, all living and breathing cricket, under one roof."
In 2017, van Beek moved from Canterbury to Wellington to further his cricket prospects. It was around the same time that Bracewell moved to the capital from Otago. The two would be housemates for two years, and also enjoyed success together with Wellington Firebirds on the field.
"It's going to be incredible to be playing against my closest mates, not just in cricket but life, in an international match," van Beek said. "It's surreal. I can't even remember the number of times we would have had dinners, chats, talks, just hanging out together, playing golf, watching movies, dancing. And now playing a game where I'm going to try and get them out.
"There's going to be a competition within a competition. Next month at my wedding in Christchurch, they'll all be there. It's an incredibly special time, and I'm looking forward to savouring the next couple of weeks."
"We know each other inside out. I've bowled to these guys for as long as I can remember. You know them so well; at the same time, you're trying to double- or triple-bluff then. Sometimes, it's better to play someone you don't know because you're simply reacting to what is coming. When you see someone so many times, you think you can premeditate and start to predict, and quite often it can lead to your downfall. But I'm sure there will be a few winks, laughter, and banter."
Cricket is a big part of van Beek's family history. Sammy Guillen, van Beek's grandfather on his mother's side, came from Trinidad and Tobago. He was one of only 15 cricketers to have played Tests for two countries - five for West Indies in Australia and New Zealand in 1951-52, after which he moved to New Zealand and played for Canterbury. About four years later he played three Tests for New Zealand against West Indies.
"My paternal grandparents came over from Holland in the 1950s, and they settled in the South Island," van Beek said. "When they had my father, he was eligible for a Dutch passport. And when my father had us, we were still eligible to get a Dutch passport because he had kept his up to date. If we keep renewing our passports, it could keep passing on through the family lineage.
"My maternal grandfather met a bloke in Christchurch and asked him if he could get him a job there because he liked it so much. A few months later, the bloke rang him up with an offer. My grandfather said he hopped on a ship the same day and came over to New Zealand, and a few years later he ended up being a part of New Zealand's first Test win over the West Indies."
In more recent history, van Beek was part of New Zealand's U-19 World Cup campaign at home in 2010. A few months before that, he represented the country at the U-19 basketball world championships. When it got to a point where he couldn't realistically continue with both sports, he chose cricket.
"I wasn't 6'8", I was just six, so maybe basketball wouldn't have worked out," he laughed. "A lot of my mates played cricket and I loved it. I loved the mateship and the camaraderie. I loved the athleticism elements of bowling and fielding. It was a no-brainer at the time. I wouldn't have it any other way."
In 2012, van Beek first played for Netherlands in a county game against Essex, but as an overseas professional. Because he had played the Under-19 World Cup for New Zealand, there needed to be a three-year cooling-off period before he became eligible to play for Netherlands in an international fixture.
As soon as he became eligible, he was picked for Netherlands at the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh in 2014, a tournament where he played against New Zealand for the first time. The game was memorable for many reasons, not least that he dismissed future captain Kane Williamson.
"Since then, I've played in two other World Cups," he says. "So anytime I can represent the Netherlands, I want to try and do that. I am still trying to push my case to play for New Zealand as well."
What about the rules?
"You can play for an Associate and next day play for a Full Member if you have the residency," he says. "If I play for New Zealand, then I'll have to wait for three years until I can represent the Netherlands again."
That cooling-off period between a player's last game for a Full Member side and their rejoining an Associate team is stipulated not just to encourage local Associate talent but also to prevent cricketers from Full Member nations from making a beeline for Associate teams in the hope of being selected for national representation in those sides.
van Beek has had a contract with Wellington since 2017 - a six-month retainer that leaves him free to pursue other interests for the remainder of the year. It's during this off season that he plays in the Netherlands, where he also has a part-time job as an executive at a real-estate development company. In New Zealand, along with his cricket, he works at an HR consultancy.
Over the past few years there have been times when van Beek has had to miss international commitments with Netherlands. Recently he missed the South Africa tour in November, which clashed with the start of New Zealand's domestic season. This time, the stars have aligned.
van Beek is hopeful his New Zealand goal will come to pass but he is equally respectful of opportunities handed out by Netherlands. As a senior team member he wants to contribute to their progress. Being part of the ODI Super League has given them a rare chance to play 24 games (eight series of three matches each) against the top sides over a three-year period.
The New Zealand tour is Netherlands' second to the country in eight years. Last time they were on these shores, it ended in tears, as they failed to qualify for the 2015 World Cup. That meant losing ODI status and significant funding.
"The talent pool is not wide, we have to persist with the same pool," van Beek said. "Sometimes you are forced to give players a long rope because you don't have a choice. Sometimes players may not be up for it, but you have to put them in the deep end and hopefully they swim. If they sink, you put on the life vest and keep them afloat until the penny drops.
"It's no secret that we don't have the talent pool, but if we can find a way to come together and beat big teams, there's no bigger satisfaction than that, to do things against the odds."

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo