Scott Edwards takes Netherlands captaincy in his stride after mid-series coronation

Australia-raised batter takes over from Pieter Seelaar with sights set on T20 WC homecoming

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Scott Edwards has been the Netherlands' stand-out player in the first two matches  •  Getty Images

Scott Edwards has been the Netherlands' stand-out player in the first two matches  •  Getty Images

Scott Edwards became the Netherlands' seventh ODI captain on Sunday after Pieter Seelaar's persistent back injury flared up and by the time he walked off the field at the close of play, he had succeeded him on a permanent basis.
Seelaar's retirement was confirmed midway through England's run-chase and Edwards has been aware for some time that change was imminent, but speaking to ESPNcricinfo the day before the third and final ODI, he admitted that his new status as captain "hasn't sunk in".
Edwards is an Australian by birth and was raised in Victoria but has always been aware of his Dutch heritage. "My grandma was born and raised here through the war, and moved across with my grandpa to Oz," he said. "I was - weirdly - born in Tonga, which is where my old man was working, and grew up in Oz, but I've always had that family affiliation with the Netherlands."
He played a season of club cricket for Excelsior on the outskirts of Rotterdam in 2015 as an 18-year-old, fresh out of school, and formed a link with Ryan Campbell, who became the national team's head coach in 2017.
"I went back to Australia and started an electrical apprenticeship but I got halfway through and binned it off when the chance came," Edwards explained. "I had a connection with Cambo when I was here and he just called me up when there was an opportunity for a tour. I haven't looked back from there."
Edwards is one of a handful of contracted players in the Dutch set-up and earns a living through coaching, as well as playing club cricket for VOC in the Netherlands and for Richmond back home in Australia. "This is my base but I spend time in Australia if there's not much cricket going on in the winter," he said. "In the last couple of years it's got less and less… I'll be pretty much based here from now on."
If the Netherlands reach this year's T20 World Cup - the second set of qualifiers are in Zimbabwe next month - then it will be a homecoming for Edwards, with the tournament due to take place in Australia from October 16. "I've got lots of family and friends over there who would come across and support the Dutch," he said. "That would be pretty cool."
More immediately, one of Edwards' first tasks in his new role is to improve his Dutch. "All our training is in English," he said, "and I know a little bit [of Dutch] but it's something I'm working on. I'm hoping that the more time I spend here, the better I'll get. My life is obviously becoming more over here than it is in Australia and part of that becomes learning the language. I struggle with it, but I'm working on it."
As well as keeping tidily, Edwards has been hugely impressive with the bat against England, going into Wednesday's third ODI with exactly 150 runs after innings of 72 not out off 56 balls and 78 off 73, the second of which included an audacious reverse-scoop for six off David Willey: "It was a last-minute decision," he said with a grin, "and it came off."
He has been particularly comfortable against spin, scoring 78 runs off 58 balls against England's slow bowlers, in keeping with his career as a whole: he is the only man to have faced more than 50 balls from Rashid Khan in ODI cricket without being dismissed and has been used effectively in the middle order.
"As an Associate cricketer, this is as good as it gets," Edwards said. "Even the Barmy Army coming across - it's pretty surreal when you're out there. We've had these moments where we've been well and truly in the game, we just have to have more of them. These big teams make you pay if you make mistakes so we've got to get a bit better with our fielding and catching, and when we're on top with the bat, we've got to cash in like they have."
The Netherlands' summer fixture list - which included West Indies' tour earlier this month, with New Zealand and Pakistan due to tour last in the season - is their most high-profile schedule ever, thanks primarily to their involvement in the ODI Super League, earned by winning the World Cricket League in 2015-17.
But the ICC have already confirmed that the Super League will be scrapped after its inaugural edition meaning that full-member nations will not have any contractual obligation to return. "It's a massively disappointing one for us," Edwards said. "There was a lot of hard work to get into the Super League and it's been awesome being a part of it.
"The more of these series that happen between full members and Associates, the closer that gap becomes. Hopefully we can keep getting these teams across to the Netherlands. It's been nice to do well personally this week. As a team, it would be awesome to finish the series with a win."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98