Zuiderent in search of England repeat

Mon, Feb 21, 2011 6:35 PM

Zuiderent in search of England repeat

Bas Zuiderent is Netherlands' most experienced player
Dutch batsman Bas Zuiderent's international career is set to come full circle when he faces England in a World Cup opener on Tuesday.

It will be 15 years to the day since Zuiderent, then a teenager, made 54 against England at Peshawar in the 1996 World Cup.

That innings brought Zuiderent global recognition but he said his life had changed greatly since his carefree days as an 18-year-old.

"The biggest change for me since 1996 has not been so much technical as mental," he said.

"Back then, cricket was just a playground for me. I was only 18 and didn't really think about the importance of playing in a World Cup. It all passed in a blur."

Zuiderent joined Sussex in 1999 where his team-mates included England duo Matt Prior and Michael Yardy.

But although he helped the south coast club win its first County Championship title in 2003, Zuiderent said he never took to the demands of full-time cricket.

"Then a few years later (after 1996) I became a professional and it really changed me. I used to get very up and down emotionally, I hated the pressure of always having to perform."

"Now I run my own physio clinic back in Rotterdam, I'm my own boss and it has calmed me down. Now I just play cricket for love."

Zuiderent added much had altered for Dutch cricket as a whole as well.

"The team has changed substantially since then (1996)," he added. "We had a lot of old players, and now the dynamic is for young types."

"There are only three who play professionally (Essex all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate, Worcestershire batsman Alexei Kervezee and South Australia's Tom Cooper) but there's certainly a couple of guys in the team now who could definitely play county cricket. They just need to get noticed."

Zuiderent, 33, has played in every World Cup match the Netherlands have contested and was also in the side that shocked England by beating the then hosts at Lord's in the opening match of the 2009 World Twenty20.

"The England game is massive for us," Zuiderent said. "We really feel. and it is not just because of the Twenty20 win, that we can beat England."

"We're going to play very positive cricket, stick to our game plan and make it tough for them. If you go in there thinking you've got no chance, what are you doing there?"

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