If the KNCB’s ambition to create a side with a stronger component of home-produced players is to be realised – and more than 60% by 2021 is the figure unveiled on Wednesday in the Board’s new strategy document – then it is players such as these who will need to bridge the very substantial gap between club cricket and the international game.
Both the team to face Belgium and the squad for the Guernsey tour feature strong seam attacks, with Rens van Troost and Gijs Kroesen, who took 29 and 18 Topklasse wickets respectively last season and helped take their young Excelsior side to the national championship, joined by Rood en Wit’s Shane Snater, ACC’s Sikander Zulfiqar and HCC’s Hidde Overdijk for the matches against Belgium.
Snater and Zulfiqar were in the full squad which played in Hong Kong in February, while Overdijk spent much of the winter in South Africa.
Van Troost and Kroesen will not be making the trip to Guernsey, but another paceman from the Hong Kong tour, Voorburg’s Viv Kingma, will be in that party.
All three Zulfiqar triplets are selected for both elements of the programme, with Saqib leading the side and Asad also included. He is likely to be among Saqib’s spin options, which will certainly include Dosti off-spinner Mahesh Hans and – at least for the Guernsey games – Max O’Dowd (VOC).
Hans’s Dosti teammate Rahil Ahmed will have the wicketkeeping role against Belgium, with HBS’s Tobias Visée taking the gloves in Guernsey. There will be back-up in both cases in the form of Roel Verhagen, another young Excelsior player who has been chosen for his batting after making 544 runs in last season’s Topklasse campaign.
The full squads are:
vs Belgium, 15 and 23 April:
Saqib Zulfiqar (ACC, captain), Rahil Ahmed (Dosti), Dirk van Baren (VOC), Tim Etman (Excelsior), Mahesh Hans (Dosti), Gijs Kroesen (Excelsior), Hidde Overdijk (HCC), Shane Snater (Roos en Wit), Rens van Troost, Roel Verhagen (both Excelsior), Asad Zulfiqar and Sikander Zulfiqar (both ACC).
vs Guernsey, 29 April-1 May:
Saqib Zulfiqar (captain), Van Baren, Etman, Hans, Viv Kingma (Voorburg), Fred Klaassen (VRA), Max O’Dowd (VOC), Overdijk, Snater, Verhagen, Tobias Visée (HBS), Asad Zulfiqar and Sikander Zulfiqar.