Tim Gruijters is in line to play his first matches for Netherlands in more than two years after he earned a recall to the Dutch squads for the four-day Intercontinental Cup match against Afghanistan from July 29-August 1 and the two WCL Championship matches against Nepal on August 13 and 15.
Gruijters has not played for his country since he went home early from the 2014 World T20 in controversial circumstances. Officially, Netherlands management applied to have him replaced after scans revealed a back injury. Gruijters’ injury opened the door for Tom Cooper to arrive as a replacement player and he wound up as the tournament’s second-highest scorer behind Virat Kohli. However, Gruijters claimed he was bullied into going for a scan in order to have Cooper enter the squad when the Australian-based batsman became available after South Australia failed to reach the Sheffield Shield final.
Despite the ill-will between Gruijters and team management at the time, the two sides have since reconciled to open the door for his way back into the Dutch side. He is joined by Shane Snater, a former Zimbabwe junior representative who has yet to make his senior team debut for Netherlands. Sikander Zulfiqar has also been named in the squad for the Nepal matches.
Making way for Gruijters and Snater from Netherlands most recent WCL Championship and Intercontinental Cup squads are batsmen Michael Swart and Rahil Ahmed. Cooper and Logan van Beek, who were part of Netherlands’ 2016 World T20 squad in India, have also both been omitted.
Paul van Meekeren, who impressed at the World T20 and recently signed to play for Somerset for the rest of the current English County season, has made himself available as has fellow Somerset team-mate Roelof van der Merwe.
Netherlands currently sit in second place on the Intercontinental Cup table, 14 points behind Ireland but five points ahead of third-place Afghanistan. Afghanistan have won both prior meetings in the four-day competition, by one wicket in 2009 and three wickets in 2012.
In the WCL Championship standings, Netherlands are in first place at 10 points after six games and hold a one-point advantage over Hong Kong. Netherlands are currently undefeated, having swept the UAE and Papua New Guinea while their series against Scotland last September ended with a pair of no results after rain ruined proceedings.
Netherlands squad for Afghanistan match: Peter Borren (capt.), Wesley Barresi (wk), Mudassar Bukhari, Ben Cooper, Tim Gruijters, Quirijn Gunning, Vivian Kingma, Ahsan Malik, Stephan Myburgh, Michael Rippon, Pieter Seelaar, Shane Snater, Timm van der Gugten, Roelof van der Merwe, Paul van Meekeren
Netherlands squad for Nepal matches: Peter Borren (capt.), Wesley Barresi (wk), Mudassar Bukhari, Ben Cooper, Tim Gruijters, Vivian Kingma, Ahsan Malik, Stephan Myburgh, Max O’Dowd, Michael Rippon, Pieter Seelaar, Shane Snater, Timm van der Gugten, Roelof van der Merwe, Paul van Meekeren, Sikander Zulfiqar