With home advantage limited, the Netherlands bank on 'spectacular cricket' instead
The hot weather in the Netherlands has been welcomed by most, but not by their team who are used to the cold.
Each countryâs weather idioms can teach you much about general weather trends, or at least a peopleâs perception of them. In Holland, where the ICC Women's World T20 Qualifier is being held, they are mostly prophecies of gloom, explanations for why a summer there often doesnât live up to the name â" see Dutch sayings like âA dry April is followed by a wet summerâ and âIf it thunders in a dry wood, the whole summer will be coldâ for evidence.
This year, however, April must have been wet and thunder was heard exclusively outside of dry woods, because the weather in the Netherlands is glorious, with clear skies, temperatures in the low 30s, and barely a breeze to speak of.
Itâs good news for mos t holidaymakers and locals, but for a Dutch team who were banking on taking some touring sides â" the likes of Thailand, Bangladesh, and Uganda â" out of their hot and hazy comfort zones, the warm weather is far from welcome.
âWe thought being at home would be a big advantage and now itâs like Thailand over here!â says Netherlands captain Heather Siegers. "We expected cold weather and that that would be our biggest advantage, but still the pitch over here is not like in Bangladesh or Thailand so I think we can get some advantage from that.â
Given that, what does the skipper expect her sideâs main weapon to be? âOur biggest strength is our team spirit. We can always count on each other and from that a lot of personal performances get enhanced.â
Much of the core of their side has remained from the World T20 Qualifier in Bangkok in 2015, when they had eight players in their squad under the age of 20, and just one over the age of 24, and the friendships made in those formative years have only strengthened since. As a captain, the close bonds Siegers has with the team comes with positives and negatives.
âWeâre actually like a group of friends that all play together, so captaining them is quite easy at times,â she says. âTheyâll all listen to me and Iâll do what they want, but other times like selection, itâs very hard to put your friends on the sidelines. Itâs hard to put friendship on the side and just be the captain, especially when you have to explain to your friends why they are not good enough to play.â
Siegers' cricket journey started with a slice of luck, her tardiness in arriving at a sports day with a range of taster sessions meaning cricket was the only option left, something she terms a âhappy accidentâ. She has now fallen for the game to the extent where she has moved to the UK to attend Loughborough University, which boasts one of the best cricket programmes in the wo rld and is the alma mater of many England internationals. Still, leading a cricket team was not something she ever gave much heed to.
âIâve never really looked at captaincy, never seen myself as a captain but I think it suits me,â she says. âIâm not a usual captain, I do it my own way but Iâve had no complaints so far. Iâm always very aggressive, I like to take wickets. Iâm not going to put everyone on the boundary and see what happens. I like spectacular cricket. With these girls, you never know whatâs going to happen, not even me.â
It's an attitude that feeds into how she goes about her batting as well. âI always loved watching Chris Gayle bat, and I want to put on the same show for the people who put on our games.â
The weather may not be what the Dutch team want, but with unexpected sun to enjoy and a thrilling team to watch, their games certainly promise to be a treat for the spectator.Add Fixtures to Calendar