12/07/2022
T20 World Cup: Paul van Meekeren would one day love to narrate to his grandchildren how it felt like bowling to players of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharmas calibre in a Word Cup game.

Meekeren, who got the wicket of KL Rahul during the Netherlands’ T20 World Cup match against India here on Thursday, termed everything that happened in the last 24 hours as a new experience.

“You watched these players on TV about 100 times, and just to be there is very special. I think in the moment. I probably didn’t realise it as much, and it will probably sink in the next 24 hours,” the medium pacer said.

Asked about the kind of impact it has had on Dutch cricket, he called it massive. “Again, it’s massive. The amount of media we got back home because we’re playing India was immense. Getting photos and messages from people in Holland, from family, about just the articles and I said about something this is a day I’ll tell to my grandkids hopefully. That’s what it is, playing against India,” he said.

While he admires the Indian players, he never looked at them as demigods. “At the end of the day, you are playing against 11 other men. They’re not gods or anything, so you just compete man to man. That’s what we tried to do today, and it didn’t plan out probably the way we hoped to.”

For Holland players, the experience of hosting England in front of sizeable crowds helped. “We knew it was going to be big crowds. I think maybe playing England this year when we had a big crowd against England in Holland, maybe, gave a few guys that experience of the night.”

Money is needed to keep spirits up

Meekeren also spoke about the practical difficulties when one faces a top team like India. “That’s what happens when you play against guys who play cricket professionally 24/7. We’ve got guys in the changing room who pay to go to their own trainings and only get paid when we go on tour and play games in Holland.”

In Holland, they have facilities but no money to sustain unless they play international cricket. “You know, if we could get paid, it might not be a different game, but that’s the level of difference against guys that can hit 1,000 balls every week, and guys who study, work, all those kind of things.”

Teams touring England can play a few games in Holland

Nearly two decades ago, India did play a few matches in Amstelveen but they were against Pakistan. Meekeren feels that teams that are touring England can come to Holland and play a few competitive matches.

“I think this year, hopefully, we showed how good the wickets are in Holland. I think the practice wickets were outstanding back home, and we played some competitive games. So there’s no reason why Test teams can’t come to Holland instead of playing the counties.

“We can be as competitive as playing the warm-up game against other countries. Why not come to Holland for 10 days before they travel to England?,” he concluded.