It’s one thing to perform consistently in a team sport, but it’s another thing altogether to perform at the bigger stages. When most needed, those who stand out are the ones you want in your team and one such bloke is Netherlands’ Paul van Meekeren 🇳🇱 who just had a fabulous outing in the 2019 ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier, ending as one of the top wicket-takers of the tournament in UAE.
Running between 18 October and 2 November 2019, Netherlands lost just one group stage in the tournament to PNG, but then went on to avenge that loss by beating the same team in the final of the tournament. Meekeren played a massive role through all of this, bagging 15 wickets in the 9 games he played in, with a best of 3/16 and an economy rate just a dash above 6 an over, which is nothing short of brilliant for the T20 format of the game.
Meekeren kept it simple through the tournament, sticking to the right line and length, and he was rewarded almost every time he stepped out on the ground. Having picked 51 wickets in 46 international games so far for Netherlands, he’s clearly one to watch out for when the team heads to Australia, having booked their tickets to the ICC T20 World Cup 2020 after this successful qualifier tournament in UAE.
Paul van Meekeren social profiles 🌐:
The pacy, bouncy pitches in Australia might give Meekeren more assistance and the 26-year old will soon start focussing his efforts towards achieving success down under too. Right now, it’s time for him to just kick back, throw his feet up, relax, and give himself a pat on the back. Read Scoops caught up with the Amsterdam-born fast bowler who has played for the national side right from his U-13 days. He told us about the preparations that went into this recent tournament and how the team plans on working towards the all-important tournament in Australia next year. Keep reading for more…
Exclusive interview with Paul van Meekeren
Q. Hi Paul. Congratulations on the victory in UAE. 6 months back, what were the hopes of qualifying to the 2020 T20 WC in Australia?
“I think 6 months ago, we were in a really good position to qualify for the T20 World Cup. Us beating Zimbabwe in the 2 ODI games and then beating them in the T20 as well showed what a strong position we were in, even though we were missing a few important players. I think those wins set us up really nicely. We experimented a lot with local players which is fantastic for Dutch cricket. Qualifying was a must for us but winning the trophy is something we really wanted to do, that being our main goal for this event. We came with an attitude to win the tournament and that’s exactly what we did.”
Q. With 15 wickets in 9 games, you were among the top performers. What would you credit this consistency to?
“Personally, I struggled with a lot of injuries. I was bowling really well before I got injured in April. I put in a lot of hard work last winter at Somerset and now, just to bowl without injuries and with that freedom is great. It was really about keeping it simple. We had Chris Liddle as our bowling coach and he’s fantastic to work with. He gave a lot of clarity and the individual goals for each bowler were very clear. I think that clarity that Chris brought in plus the hard work I put in over the summer which included tweaking a few things in my bowling action are what gave me rewards in this tournament.”
Q. What was your favourite moment of the recent T20 Qualifier in UAE?
“There were a few favourite highlights for me. My personal highlight would be the 2 wickets in 2 balls that I picked against UAE. I think the other team highlight was the way we played against UAE in that same must-win game. If we won, we were staying in the tournament and would qualify. To restrict UAE to 80-81 was a fantastic effort by all the fielders and bowlers. And then to knock the runs in a very calm and collective way, losing just 2-3 wickets was a very professional and outstanding performance from the whole squad.”
Q. What personal preparations will you put in for the upcoming World Cup in Australia?
“I’m not sure 100% what I will be doing next year yet. I’ll stay in the UK and try to find a new county for sure. As far as the personal preparations go, I’ll probably take the next month or two off, away from cricket doing some fitness work and spending some time with friends and family while I’m in Amsterdam. And then we’ll start planning ahead. There are a few trips with the Dutch team coming up early next year. Then it’s up to the coach and the high performance staff at the KNCB that will sort out the main prep for the 2020 World Cup and the build up to it. For me, it’s just playing cricket and working on my skills in training. Making sure we all train in detail, which is one of the reasons we had this success in Dubai.”
This Netherlands outfit is one to watch out for as the excitement begins in the build up to the T20 World Cup in Australia next year. Meekeren will be one of the key members in this team as they look to create upsets down under. On behalf of the team at Read Scoops, I would like to thank Paul for his time and wish him the best of luck for the upcoming tournament in Australia!
– Dwayne Fernandes, Read Scoops