It was big international sports news last week: Netherlands beat South Africa in the Cricket World Cup in India. One of the key figures in the Netherlands doing surprisingly well is Paul van Meckeren, who was born and raised in Amsterdam. The 30-year-old international will play for the Netherlands against cricket’s next superpower Australia today. “Here in India, it’s all about cricket.”
“I used to watch pictures of the World Cup on TV, but now I’m living it,” Van Meckeren says from his hotel room in Delhi about India’s cricket craze. “Last week I wanted to go to the hairdresser with a teammate. We were taken there under police guard. Then five police officers came in to monitor everything. Everything is arranged for you here. Everything revolves around the World Cup.”
Tom Thumb from the World Cup
The match, which South Africa won, was widely covered in the international sports press. From New Zealand to Jamaica, the Netherlands’ historic achievement has been talked and written about. “It’s as if Luxembourg is beating the Netherlands in football, and of course we are Luxembourg,” Van Meekeren said of the Dutch national team. “It is possible that the Netherlands will not win even one of the next 20 matches against South Africa. They are very good.” A unique achievement for the Netherlands.
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Van Meekeren will wear the Dutch national team shirt for the 76th time today against Australia in an official match. This is while his cricketing career began with the Harlem Red & Whites. “My father’s roots are in Haarlem and he always played for the Red & White. I was born in Amsterdam and always lived there with my father, but I got to play for my father’s club. So I’m also just a Red & White player…in heart and soul.”
“Winning one or two matches would have been a success. But now I really want to win three matches.”
His first steps were on the cricket field in Harlem, but Van Mekeren now has clubs in Canada, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and even became a Caribbean champion with a team from the St Kitts and Nevis archipelago. The bowler, known in cricket as a ‘bowler’, is also one of the few Dutchmen to have managed to secure a contract in England. “I have been living in England for almost eight years and have played for several clubs such as Somerset, Glamorgan and Gloucestershire. I have a professional contract with my international colleague Pas de Leyde in England. I think there are only seven or eight Dutch people who can help us with this already gone from before”.
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Given his impressive cricket career, Van Meekeren is no longer frustrated when it comes to playing big matches or personal duels against the best batsmen in the world. “I was very nervous on my debut in 2013, but not anymore. I have already played against England, Pakistan and India. I am actually looking forward to the match against Australia, because I have never played against this country before.”
“We still have a real chance to beat Bangladesh and Afghanistan,” says Van Meckeren of the remaining matches in this tournament. “Against India, which is at the highest level, in a full stadium, it will be very difficult, of course. But beating South Africa makes you want more. You can say in advance that winning a match or two in this World Cup would have been a win.” success. But now we want me to actually win three.”
Even when he faces Steve Smith or David Warner today, two of the best batsmen in the world, Van Meckeren does not back down. “Smith doesn’t use his feet well, so just throw the ball full and deep into the posts. And David Warner, if you get that ball out, Australia will lose big. So it would be good to get him out quickly, but of course things have to go well to win.” Australia.”
Netherlands will play against Australia today at 10.30am. Later in this World Cup, they will play against Bangladesh, Afghanistan and England. The final event for the Dutch team is the match at a sold-out stadium against host nation and superpower India on Sunday 12 November.
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