At the same time, none of the teams have actually played T20I cricket at a serious level in a long time. It was back at the Desert T20 Challenge in January 2017 that the Netherlands and Scotland played the format last, while Ireland were in action not too much later in India’s Greater Noida, playing Afghanistan in March 2017. That would logically make their form in the format patchy, but Scotland will actually get two T20Is against Pakistan at home in Edinburgh just before making the trip across to the Netherlands, and that could give them a bit of an edge.The tournament will be played in an interesting format. With Scotland playing Pakistan on 12 and 13 June at home, they come into the picture only on 16 June. Instead, the home side and Ireland will face off on 12 and 13 June, followed by the Ireland v Scotland games on 16 and 17 June, and then the games between the Netherlands and Scotland on 19 and 20 June.
The Netherlands, interestingly, have not finalised their squad yet. Pieter Seelaar has been unveiled as the new captain following Peter Borren’s retirement, and the squad of 10 for the first game has three uncapped players: 22-year-old medium pacer Shane Snater, 25-year-old left-arm pacer Fred Klaasen and Saqib Zulfiqar, the 21-year-old left-arm spinner. The delay in announcing the final squad is because Timm van der Gugten (Glamorgan), Paul van Meekeren (Somerset), Ryan ten Doeschate (Essex) and Roelof van der Merwe (Somerset) are all on county duty and their participation isn’t confirmed.
That, in any case, is for the first two games. For the Scotland fixtures, Max O’Dowd and Quirijn Gunnin have been named in the squad, with van der Gugten, van Meekeren and van der Merwe on stand-by. Ireland have a new captain too, with William Porterfield opting out of the leadership role in the shortest format and Gary Wilson stepping in. It’s a strong squad, with many of the men who were part of the maiden Test – including batting star Kevin O’Brien – in the mix. Scotland, meanwhile, apart from getting game time against Pakistan, the No.1 T20I team in the world, will also have the same squad of 15 doing duty in the Netherlands, giving them a bit of consistency and practice.
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First Published: June 12, 2018, 8:51 PM IST