Cow Corner

Do not doubt the Dutch

Cow Corner

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As the Netherlands prepare to face hosts England in the opening match of the World Twenty20, it is high time we reacquaint you with a few key members of this eclectic rabble.

First up is Dirk Nannes, the former World Cup skier and Middlesex bowler, who hastily swapped his allegiance to the Dutch side after repeated omissions from the Australia squad.

The left-hander, who when asked to describe his pace simply replied 'scary', is less Frank 'Typhoon' Tyson, and more James 'Typhoo tea' Kirtley, but could still shock the England batsmen.

Nannes, to whom modesty is gross negligence for aspiring cricketers, reflected on Cricket Australia's ignorance of his talents in less than compromising terms.

"To not get picked flies in the face of picking your best team," he said tactfully, while checking his passport.

"I doubt many of the people in that squad would have a better record than me, even the big boys, so clearly I'm playing the wrong sport." Clearly.

As if the official Netherlands merchandise were not selling quickly enough already, the ICC drafted in a rather tantalising model to flaunt the kit, and no, it was not Michael Yardy, nor Robert Key.

Meanwhile, the tournament director and former South Africa seam-wobbler Steve Elworthy was typically understated when asked about the prospects of the event, branding it as an 'epic homecoming'.

One man to whom searing banter is staple diet, is Netherlands captain and wicket-keeper Jeroen Smits, nicknamed 'the Piglet', who states that he is "constantly initiating practical jokes". How his gags go down with the rest of the team, though, is anyone's guess.

Smits combined defiance with unconvincing confidence when asked whether his side would be intimidated by England.

The skipper replied insightfully: "No, we are Dutch", to equally bemuse and entertain those present at the pre-tournament press conference. "Any further questions to Mr Smits?" "No. Thanks."

Ryan ten Doeschate of Essex (pictured, right) is the poster boy of the Dutch side, and fulfils the frankly vital criteria of being a 'huge hitting, skiddy bowling, big smiling' all-rounder'. A description which would have been apt for one Phil De Freitas, with the exception of the huge hitting and skiddy bowling, obviously.

Darron Reekers is a New Zealand-born self-proclaimed 'Jack of all trades', and resembles the kind of perma-festively plump man you would trust to do a damn fine job of your decking.

But before anyone is caught smirking at the 36-year-old's cricketing profile, let us not forget that he scored 196 runs off 117 balls against Norway in the European Championship Division One last season - no mean feat.

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Cowers was as eager to blog again about Andrew Symonds and his underarm bar as Ian Botham and Ricky Ponting have been to condemn the all-rounder's behaviour.

If Andrew Flintoff, Allan Lamb, Jesse Ryder and David Boon were to pitch in with their two-pennies worth, it would complete a proverbial six pack of hysterical hypocrites.

It was difficult to empathise with Ponting's rueful reflections with the skipper sporting a baseball cap with the VB (Victoria Beer) logo emblazoned upon it. One senses Symonds was not the only Australian scheduling a day off down in Newquay.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland noted the "numerous broken team rules and breaches of contract by Andrew over the last 24 to 48 hours" as though it were a pub golf scorecard the Queenslander was rattling through.

"I'm disappointed but at the same time I'm disappointed for Andrew...in fact, I'm quite sad about it all," Sutherland said, ushering out his own impromptu string quartet.

The fact clearly remains that Symonds has a problem and should not have been called up for a 'tour' - always a teasing proposition for a cricketer who loves to drink from the tap - if he was not in a fit and proper state for one.

AVERAGE ANECDOTE OF THE WEEK: Brian 'Bomber' Wells, the Gloucestershire off-spinner of wide girth and rolling gait, had a game neatly tailored to the three disciplines: agricultural batting, leisurely fielding and brisk, one-pace run-up tweaks.

'Bomber', a jovial figure who loved nothing more than a chat to nearby spectators from the fine-leg boundary, on one occasion contrived to hold a catch while juggling a cup of tea in his other hand. Wells was duly dropped for the following match as punishment for that particular exploit, but became a cult hero in the West Country in the process.

USER COMMENT OF THE WEEK: My sister was an air hostess when David Boon and Mervin Hughes stepped on board. They methodically­ proceeded to deplete the entire supply of beer on board­ - to the merriment of the entire plane, their­ management included. Two days later, Boon scored a century and Hughes took a bundle of wickets. How­ cricketers relax and still perform is their own­ business. Get off their backs!  (JC H)

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