My mother is Dutch and her mother is Dutch, that's the ancestry of the qualification. There were a lot of things that I had to get in order to qualify. I was up to my neck in paperwork at one stage. There were certain dates that I had to be born after and those sorts of elements that had to be accounted for. That's how the qualification for Netherlands came about. The move has been coming for about a year now. I started thinking about it a while back, and from there started putting things into motion to make it happen. Discussions with my family were obviously important too, and things gradually started falling into place.
To play at the highest level, which is international cricket, is where you want to be as a professional cricketer. This move is ticking all those boxes, and also looks after the family aspect. Playing for South Africa was awesome, but I've done my own calculations to see if a comeback was going to happen. I saw there is no way back into the national team, and on that basis I made the decision to qualify to play for Netherlands. If the Dutch qualify for the World T20, we will be playing international cricket again - and that's the highest level I crave.
Ed van Nierop is the team manager at Netherlands and he is very on the ball with all things cricket. I had a few discussions with him, about the future and possibilities in and around the team. He assisted me plenty and has been a big part in this big move. I'm grateful for his help. I'm part of the squad, there and thereabouts, and now it's a matter of getting into the playing XI on a regular basis, pushing for a permanent berth in the build-up to more T20I series and the World T20.
I don't think that is necessarily going to be the case. If you look at a guy like Ryan ten Doeschate, he played for Netherlands and some county cricket - and he is still playing cricket in the IPL and one or two other tournaments around the world. Having played for St Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League, Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League and others, I don't think this move is going to lessen my prospects at all with teams like that in the future.
"I will definitely seek some county cricket. It's a high level of cricket and that's what I want to be playing. My time with Somerset was good and I'd like that sort of thing again"
I've been able to see it from South Africa's point of view and now I can see it from Netherlands' point of view. The balance between the Full Member teams and the Associate teams is important at World Cups and other major ICC events. The ICC haven't quite confirmed anything yet, but hopefully they come to a place that includes the Associates as much as possible for future World Cups. A ten-team World Cup probably isn't the way to go. They need to be more inclusive.
I've played for Somerset in the Champions League T20 and the domestic T20 competition in England in the past and I'll definitely seek some county cricket again. It's a high level of cricket and, as I've said, that's what I want to be playing. I have had a few discussions with a few people regarding this. My time with Somerset was good and I'd like to make that sort of thing happen again at some stage. Let's see how the Netherlands games go and take it from there.
Making my debut in a T20I against Australia in front of my home crowd in Centurion was obviously a highlight. I almost made a half-century, and it was quite a quick innings. I got the wicket of David Hussey and I was reasonably economical. We won the game and I got the Man-of-the-Match award. There was also the home ODI series against the Aussies in 2009. We won that three-two in the end. That features among my personal international career highlights too.
The team dynamics determined where you were going to bat in the order, and I was okay with that. At that stage, it was what was required of me in the team, in the batting order. In hindsight, you always ponder what could have been, but I really enjoyed the role I played in the South African team then. The period with the national team, playing in those roles - as a batsman, bowler, allrounder, up the order, down the order, finishing the innings and chasing boundaries - was very enjoyable and actually helped expand my cricket career in general.
I know Dirk Nannes, who played for Australia and Netherlands, is one of them. The rest I'd think played for England and Ireland. Eoin Morgan is probably one and perhaps Ed Joyce and Boyd Rankin. Other guys, like Kepler Wessels, I know played for two countries but probably before T20 international cricket existed. (For the record, Morgan played ODI but not T20I cricket for Ireland. Nannes, Joyce and Rankin and Australia and New Zealand's Luke Ronchi complete the five).
Jonhenry Wilson is a cricket writer for Cricket365, SA Cricket magazine and TEAMtalk Media, among others