Teja Nidamanuru ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/teja-nidamanuru-1129328), the Netherlands batter, has embraced the challenges that come with playing Associate cricket, but he hopes that Netherlands’ recent success at World Cups will earn them more bilateral fixtures against Full-Member nations.
After toppling South Africa in the T20 World Cup in Adelaide ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/icc-men-s-t20-world-cup-2022-23-1298134/netherlands-vs-south-africa-40th-match-group-2-1298174/full-scorecard) last year, Netherlands completed the double over them with a win at this World Cup in Dharamsala ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2023-24-1367856/netherlands-vs-south-africa-15th-match-1384406/live-cricket-score). However, after the end of this tournament, their immediate ODI future is uncertain – their next international assignment will likely be the 2024 T20 World Cup in the USA and the Caribbean.
“Yeah, look, I think as many of you that are sitting here are aware [about] the challenges of ‘Associate cricket’ – the word that we don’t like to use, actually – but the reality of it is that there is less funding and there is less sort of opportunity and there is less exposure,” Nidamanuru said on the eve of Netherlands’ day game against Sri Lanka in Lucknow.
“Look, we’re here to compete and we have an aim, we have an aspiration to try and play in the semi-finals and that could change stuff and we could get more bilateral series that way. So, the better we perform here and obviously showcase our skills, it will stand us in good stead going forward – that is our belief.
“We’re not really thinking too far afterwards, but obviously everyone’s aware of the challenges in Associate cricket regarding the funding or the facilities or the lack of exposure in terms of playing the bigger teams. So, when you do come up against them, you’re like, okay, well, we’ve really got to rise to the occasion. But if we were playing [top teams as often as] the other teams do, I’m sure that [we] would be up to par in terms of how it goes. So, if you say, hey, we play someone like New Zealand 10 times, I’m sure we’d be able to win at least four or five games out of that.”
Nidamanuru also believes that Netherlands’ players are also “not too far away” from featuring in a T20 league of their own and, he hopes, their performances in this tournament goes a way in helping that along. The inaugural Euro T20 Slam, which was supposed to take place in 2019, was cancelled ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/inaugural-euro-t20-slam-cancelled-at-two-weeks-notice-1197472) after it ran into financial difficulties and then Covid-19 hit.
Fast bowler Paul van Meekeren is one of the Netherlands players with some experience on the T20 circuit. In 2021, he had won the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) with St Kitts & Nevis Patriots under Dwayne Bravo’s captaincy. He was the first-ever Dutch player to be picked in the CPL ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/t20-world-cup-2021-paul-van-meekeren-of-netherlands-i-ll-need-to-work-my-bum-off-to-get-a-slot-to-play-1282854 ) and has also featured in the Global T20 Canada. Roelof van der Merwe is a more familiar name on the franchise circuit, having also played in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Delhi franchise, but that was before he had represented Netherlands.
“We’re hoping obviously being on the world stage and performing the way we are, we can attract leagues or people to start a franchise or do something in that sort of triangle over there [at the Euro T20 Slam], which would be really, really awesome.”
“Look, I think we tried to get the Euro Slam off the ground a few years ago, but for Covid and some other challenges and I think, also funding or whatever it may be, it didn’t quite go through,” Nidamunnuru said. “But basically, that was encompassing Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands, and there were a few players, also marquee players, that were sort of advertised through there.
“Look, I think it would be great for us and I don’t think we’re too far away. We’re hoping obviously being on the world stage and performing the way we are, we can attract leagues or people to start a franchise or do something in that sort of triangle over there, which would be really, really awesome.”
Netherlands’ immediate focus will be on finding a way past Sri Lanka’s spin attack though they will be depleted by Wanindu Hasaranga ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/wanindu-hasaranga-784379)‘s injury-enforced absence this time. In the World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe earlier this year, Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana had dominated Netherlands’ batting line-up ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-qualifier-2023-1377745/netherlands-vs-sri-lanka-final-1377779/full-scorecard) with their bagful of variations. Netherlands’ batters have since worked on their game against spin during their pre-tournament camp in Alur in Karnataka.
“Yeah, look, obviously, they’ve got quality spinners, Sri Lanka, they always have,” Nidamanuru said. “They’ve always produced great quality spin bowlers, so whoever they have in their team, they’ll still be a threat. I think it’s just about us being able to manage what is in our control really well and if we can do that, I’m sure we can execute and you know it’s a game that, yeah, we see as there’s an opportunity obviously for both teams. So yeah, we enter into it with a very positive frame of mind whether we’re playing spin or pace.”