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Dutch determined to earn respect for Cup minnows
N.Ananthanarayanan | March 06, 2007 10:23 IST
The footballing nation have just 7,000 cricketers to choose from compared to the millions who play the game in the Indian sub-continent.
They are also one of the teams, alongside Ireland, Bermuda, Canada and Scotland whom critics such as former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding believe have no place in the premier tournament.
Netherlands are also in the toughest group A, with champions Australia and the team who replaced them as the top-ranked one-day side, South Africa.
"We're playing the number one and two in the world," skipper Luuk van Troost told Reuters on Monday. "It is just unbelievable."
Troost pins his hopes on the tournament's youngest player, 17-year-old Namibia-born batsman Alexei Kervezee, and all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate to showcase his team's abilities.
The 37-year-old headmaster at a special school in Rotterdam leads a largely amateur team in contrast to Indian players who earn millions of dollars in endorsements.
Wicket-keeper Jeroen Smits is a public relations officer while Tim de Leede works for a leading Dutch telephone company.
Troost was hopeful of Netherlands going one better than Ireland, who gave mighty South Africa a scare, with debutants Bermuda bowling well against England before being skittled out in two warm-up games on Monday.
"Ireland showed that is possible," he said. "But Bermuda scoring just 45 is not helping us."
He also took heart from his team's showing against India, the 1983 champions, in the last edition in South Africa.
The Dutch bowled out India for 204 in a group game although they were dismissed for 136 all out in reply.
The focus in the team would be on Essex all-rounder Doeschate, who hit four consecutive hundreds in the inter-continental cup for associates.
Kervezee is seen as a future prospect after Worcestershire signed him up for two years.
Although Australia versus South Africa would be the feature group game, the Dutch have their own score to settle against Scotland, the fourth team in group A.
Scotland are the top-ranked associate team while the Dutch are number two in the list.
"We want to beat Scotland," he said. "That is our number one goal."
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