According to coach Ryan Campbell, the Netherlands will enter the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 with the best squad in their history. They will play Ireland in their first match.
The Dutch will have enough confidence in the UAE, with all-time great Ryan ten Doeschate preparing for his farewell tour and a slew of English county cricket legends. While Campbell joked that his team will be underdogs in Group A, which includes full members Ireland and Sri Lanka, he is aiming for a spot in the Super 12s, which will necessitate a quick start against Ireland at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
“I’ve put a tag on this squad as the greatest we’ve ever assembled in the Netherlands. With that comes its own pressures and it puts pressure on myself but that is the belief I have in this squad,” said Campbell in an ICC release.
“We have two full members in our group, so of course they should go through. Us little fellas, the Netherlands and Namibia, we may be here to make up the group but let me tell you, we’ve got a bit of fight about us. If either of those teams doesn’t show up, they are in a lot of trouble. We’ve shown that against Ireland a number of times, the Netherlands have shown that we show up on the big stage, but we have our own pressures”.
“We want to be known as one of the great teams around the world, we don’t want to be just an associate team. Our history says we win one game against England every now and again in a World Cup but we don’t want to be known as a one-off wonder. We want to compete with everyone.
“So I think the pressure is also on us because we want to be in the final 12 and go up against the big boys.”
Ireland may now be full ICC members, but that advancement actually gives the Dutch the advantage in terms of county experience, as Irish players are now regarded overseas in the English domestic game.
While Paul Stirling has been impressive for The Hundred and Middlesex, the Irish squad as a whole has not had as much exposure to top-level cricket as they would have had in prior World Cups.
And against a squad like the Netherlands, coach Graham Ford concedes it is a disadvantage, but one he hopes his team can overcome.
“Without a doubt, it’s a huge plus for them to have had seven or eight guys involved in The Hundred, they’ve got guys involved in county cricket which keeps them match sharp and keeps their skills sharp,” said Ford.
“So they have a big advantage there. It’s something we used to have so it’s quite disappointing to not have that. But it’s about how we go and play on the day. Our guys have worked really hard. They have gained something out of that (experience) but it doesn’t mean we can’t beat them.
“We have done a fair amount of homework looking at how the pitches have played over the IPL. The power play is always important, the powerplay and the death overs are massively important in T20 cricket. Start well and finish well and you’ve got a pretty good chance,” he signed off.
(With ANI inputs).