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Amateur Dutchmen: Short on experience but not on passion

Nagpur: With a financial adviser, a wannabe teacher and a physio in their ranks, the Netherlands had to announce their squad more than a month before the World Cup so that the players could take leave from their actual professions to participate in the event.

"Most of our players are amateurs and they are into different professions. It`s always difficult for them to stay away from their jobs for more than a month," coach Peter Drinnen revealed during a chat.

"So it was decided that we would announce the squad early so that the respective players can apply for leave. But they are very passionate. For these guys, it is a dream to play in the World Cup," he added.

Barring all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate, the first Dutch player to bag an IPL contract (USD 150,000 with KKR), the others are into various kinds of profession.

The 25-year-old Berend Westdijk works as a head organiser of a restaurant, while Bernard Loots is a financial adviser.

Even `Daddy of the pack`, Bas Zuiderent who will be playing his fourth World Cup (Incidentally, Zuiderent as an 18-year-old made his World Cup as well as ODI debut way back in 1996 in India) is a professional physio.

Team`s robust new ball bowler Mudassar Bukhari works at fast food joint "Burger King" while Pieter Seelaar is studying to become a teacher.

Some of them even have funny nicknames like Loots is popularly known as `Opa` which means Grandpa. Senior batsman Tom de Grooth is known as `Two Thumbs` while Atse Buurman is called `Ace` by his teammates. Some of them even play soccer for lower division Dutch sides.

"Most of them hail from Amsterdam and hence they are die-hard supporters of Ajax Amsterdam. Very few support PSV Eindhoven and Feynoord," informed manager Ed van Nierop.

Talking about the structure of cricket in the country, both coach and manager informed that a lot of development work.

Till date there are only six turf wickets in the country,

"It`s a club-based cricket system in The Netherlands," informed Van Nierop.

Ten Doeschate ad Zuiderent are two cricketers that the younger crop of players look upto.

"Tendo (as he is popularly known as) brings in a lot to the table. His discipline, work ethic and the professional manner in which he goes about his job is exceptional.

"Bas on the other hand passes on his knowledge and it`s a massive advantage to have someone like him. He has played in India (in the 1996 edition) and we definitely get inputs from him."

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