Bas de Leede: Scott Edwards has filled the gap left by Pieter Seelaar

At the previous T20 World Cup, things didn’t go according to plan for the Netherlands, losing to Ireland, Namibia and Sri Lanka and dropping out of the tournament. It was a tournament to forget for the Dutch as they were on the bottom of a double hat-trick from Curtis Campher and also fell to the second-lowest total of any T20 World Cup when they were tied for just 44 against Sri Lanka.

The Netherlands have again qualified for the mega-event scheduled for later this year, with Bas de Leede playing a key role in Zimbabwe’s qualifiers. He hit 170 runs at 56.66 and with the ball chipped in nine wickets on a save rate of 5.40.

Speak with Cricket.comde Leede sees a great opportunity for the entire team to perform better in the upcoming World Championship.

“At the last World Cup we didn’t play the way we would have liked. I think we could learn a lot from that as a team, but also individually as players,” said de Leede.

“This year’s world championship with Tendo [Ryan ten Doeschate] retired, [Pieter] Seelaar has resigned, the team is getting a new look. For the [new] Guys it’s going to be their first opportunity to show their skills at a World Cup and for the other guys it’s an opportunity to make up for the poor World Cup we had last year.

“We have New Zealand ahead of us in the T20s and Pakistan in the ODIs, but after that the full focus is on the T20 World Cup. I’m excited to see how well we can do this time.”

Speaking of Seelaar, persistent back problems forced the former Dutch skipper to retire in the middle of the ODI series against England. De Leede feels the void he left in the team is huge. As a result, wicketkeeper-batter Scott Edwards was handed the reins of the Dutch team.

“Pieter Seelaar’s resignation came as a bit of a shock to the outside world, but also to the players. Nobody saw it coming. We all knew he had problems with his back. Quitting after just one game in the series was quite a shock. The gap [void] that he left in the team is pretty big – as a player, but above all as a person,” said the 22-year-old.

“He was one of those guys that we young players looked up to and said, ‘This is the brand I want to play my cricket with.’ He was quite aggressive, confident and knew what his skills were. That’s the big part that we’re going to miss about him.

“His captain was outstanding in the way he treated his players, the way he spoke to his players, the way he treated everyone equally was great to see and one of his great qualities. We will definitely miss that. Scott who stepped up and really closed the gap Seelaar left.”

In recent qualifiers, the Netherlands brushed aside Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, Uganda and the USA to secure their spot at the World Cup in Australia. However, as in 2019, they failed to finish the job in the finals as Zimbabwe proved too good that day.

Regarding the team’s performance, de Leede said that the clarity of the roles helped not only him but the team as a whole.

“For me, it was the clarity that clicked for me. I had a clear roll with the ball and a clear roll with the bat. That really helped. I could really have a clear game plan. As a team, because we knew our roles with the racquet and with the ball, it was such a help for us and such a great effort from all of us to be good at our roles. That helped us a lot to qualify,” explained de Leede.

The leading Dutchman in the tournament was 25-year-old Scott Edwards, who recently took over from Seelaar. De Leede praised Edwards and said he was the perfect candidate to fill the void left by Seelaar.

“I think Scott is a different person than Seelaar. But as captains they are similar. They like to be aggressive. The way Scott handled the first few weeks or months of his captaincy was outstanding,” said de Leede, who posted his highest T20 score of 91* in qualifying.

“He’s really a guy who’s part of the team and not above the team like some captains are. From that point of view it was great to play under him and the way he has risen after that shock departure from Seelaar has been great. He couldn’t have handled it better.

“I’m really looking forward to playing more under Scott’s captaincy because he’s going to fill that gap pretty well.”

While head coach Ryan Campbell, who has been in charge of the team since 2017, may not have traveled to Zimbabwe due to health reasons, he was on a video call singing the team’s song with them after they confirmed qualification for the World Cup.

“I haven’t spoken to him personally after qualifying, but I will when we get back to training. It was part of the team song after we qualified and won the semifinals against USA. Video called him he was in the team song. That was a great moment,” said de Leede.

“I know he’s very proud of the boys. I look forward to what he has to say as we start preparing for the New Zealand series.”

ALSO READ: Zimbabwe, Netherlands show the value of experience

The World Cup Super League – one of the routes to direct qualification for the 2023 50-Over World Championship in India – has given the Netherlands the opportunity to face off against some of the best teams in the world. They have already played ODIs against Ireland, West Indies, England and New Zealand and now face Pakistan at home next month.

Before that, however, they play the Blackcaps in a two-game T20I series in The Hague before moving to Rotterdam for the ODIs against Pakistan.

Regarding the challenge ahead, de Leede believes the series against England will present a huge learning curve for many in the team and he hopes to take all of that into account in the forthcoming games against top sides.

“New Zealand and Pakistan are going to be great. A great way to end our home summer with the best cricket the Dutch have ever had. England, West Indies and now New Zealand, Pakistan, it’s huge for us, especially for a young team, to develop,” de Leede, whose father Tim once sent off Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid in the same game at the 2003 World Cup in Paarl , said.

“England was a great experience but we were beaten pretty easily in all three games. But the lessons we can take away from those games will really help us prepare for New Zealand and also for Pakistan. We played New Zealand in March in New Zealand and I think we did pretty well. We had a few chances to take the game away from them.

“In which [upcoming] T20s [against New Zealand] we will definitely fight back. Then the Pakistani ODIs will become tough. The quality they have in the batting department, spin bowling department and pace bowling department is unmatched – as good as any other team in the world.

“It will be a huge challenge for us. But I think something we are ready for as a team. With the lessons learned from those games against England, we base ourselves on fighting a fight.”

After these bilateral encounters, the focus of the Netherlands is entirely on the T20 World Championship. They will face off against the United Arab Emirates, Namibia and Sri Lanka, all of whom will put the Dutch to a hard test. The Netherlands would not have it any other way.

Leave a Comment