ICC Intercontinental Cup

Netherlands coach Bakker pledges to play positive cricket in Toronto

Netherlands coach Paul-Jan Bakker says his team will be going all-out to win the ICC Intercontinental Cup match against Canada in Toronto, starting on Thursday, even if that means it risks losing it

James Fitzgerald
Netherlands coach Paul-Jan Bakker says his team will be going all-out to win the ICC Intercontinental Cup match against Canada in Toronto, starting on Thursday, even if that means it risks losing it.
Bakker, who took over the reins of the Dutch side from Peter Cantrell following the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in the West Indies, says players learn more attempting to win matches than they do from playing out negative draws, even if they end up losing more games along the way.
"I played a lot of this sort of cricket and I always enjoyed going for the win rather than the draw. I'll be bringing that same mentality to my job as coach," said the 49-year-old former Hampshire, Quick Haag and Netherlands medium pacer.
"I want to make it a good game with an exciting final day if possible. I want it to be interesting. I think you learn more from being positive, even if you end up losing the match. Bowlers have to realise that in four-day cricket they have to take wickets - it's not enough just to be economical - and batsmen have to occupy the crease for long periods, and set targets for themselves based on sessions.
"You have to go for the kill sometimes and really attack the opposition," said Bakker.
The four-day match gets under way at Maple Leaf, King City, Ontario on Thursday with the Netherlands keen to reproduce the sort of form that gave them a seven-wicket victory over Canada in this competition last year.
With some players unavailable, Bakker has given the chance to some inexperienced players to show him that they can make the step up from the Hoofdklasse to the international stage. There are three debutants in the current squad for the tour to Canada, all having shown good form for their clubs.
All-rounder Mudassar Bukhari, wicketkeeper-batsman Atse Buurman, and leg-spinner Mangesh Panchal get the chance to make names for themselves.
Panchel comes in as a late replacement for Mohammed Kashif, who has been forced to withdraw due to a family bereavement. Panchel (33) has been in wonderful form for his club VRA this season, having already taken 19 wickets at an average of 10.89.
Proven performers Bas Zuiderent and Ryan ten Doeschate are both unavailable although Bakker is hopeful they will play a part in the ODI quadrangular tournament involving the West Indies, Ireland and Scotland in Dublin and Belfast next month.
On the other side, Canada will also be without some of their more experienced players for this match with Jon Davison and Steve Welsh both unavailable. But skipper Ashish Bagai is seeing it as an opportunity to blood new talent and identifies his role as one of rebuilding towards qualification for the next ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2011 which, if successful would be Canada's fourth time to make it to the finals (1979, 2003 and 2007 being the others).
"I am looking towards the World Cup Qualifier in 2009 and what we want to do is start building a team for that event," said 25-year-old Bagai, who took over the captaincy of the national side from Davison following the CWC. He says that losing the final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2006-07 to Ireland in May hurt but he knows his side is better prepared now.
"We went into that match without any match practice and not having had a coach since the World Cup. Now we are in the middle of our season. We are fitter, better prepared and ready for the challenge," he said, adding he had forged a very good working relationship with the interim national coach Pubudu Dassanayake, who is holding the fort until a permanent replacement for Andy Pick is named.
"I know the Dutch are missing a few players and I think if we do all the little things right, we should win... I am enjoying my role now as captain. I have the support of all the players, which is awesome, and I'm looking forward to the game," said Bagai.
The ICC Intercontinental Cup has quickly grown in stature and profile since its inception three years ago and now ICC's premier first-class tournament is an integral part of the Associate Members' cricket schedule.
Having previously been designed around a two-group, three-day format, the event has evolved into an eight-team, round-robin and truly global tournament featuring four-day cricket which gives those teams who do not play Test cricket the chance to experience the longer form of the game.
Scotland won the first ICC Intercontinental Cup in 2004, beating Canada in the final, while Ireland has been victorious in both events since then, beating Kenya in the 2005 decider and Canada earlier this year in the 2006-07 event.
The final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-08 will take place in November 2008 at a venue yet to be decided.
Canada (from): Ashish Bagai (captain), Ashishkumar Patel, Ashif Mulla, Geoff Barnett, Henry Osinde, Kevin Sandher, Qaiser Ali, Sunil Dhaniram, Shahzad Khan, Trevin Bastiampillai, Umar Bhatti, Mohsin Mulla, Durand Soraine.
Netherlands (from): Jeroen Smits (captain), Peter Borren, Mudassar Bukhari, Atse Buurman, Tom de Grooth, Mark Jonkman, Alexei Kervezee, Mangesh Panchal, Adeel Raja, Darron Reekers, Edgar Schiferli, Billy Stelling, Eric Szwarczynski.
Umpires: Darrell Hair (Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires) and Roger Dill (ICC Associates and Affiliates Umpires International Panel)

James Fitzgerald is ICC Communications Officer