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Smits Relishing Lord’s Outing

By on June 5, 2009

icc world twenty20 Jeroen Smits

Jeroen Smits fulfils a childhood dream when he leads the Netherlands into their ICC World Twenty20 clash with England at Lord’s today.

The 36-year-old was awe-struck by the famous ground when he accompanied his parents to see the Dutch national side lose to Zimbabwe in the 1986 ICC Trophy final.

“I was really impressed with the stadium, all the facilities, but I really wanted to play for the Dutch team from that point onwards,” said Smits. “My parents loved cricket, so it was a good occasion to come over – a Dutch team playing the final at Lord’s.”

The present-day Dutch have qualified for three World Cups in a row and are one of three associate countries in the 20-over tournament. However, there remains a gulf between them and England.

The vast majority of those bedecked in orange are here as amateurs, on unpaid leave from work, to take on an elite, some of whom earned hundreds of thousands of pounds for a few weeks at the Indian Premier League.

“It is a big commitment but we love the game, we don’t make a living out of it,” said Smits. “Maybe if we do well in these kind of tournaments we will.

“It is a privilege to play in this tournament. It is the reason we are playing cricket, and we are having fun, that’s for sure.”

The only sense of equality between the teams is in their International Cricket Council daily allowance hand-out of $100 – a flat rate received by all players once the tournament begins.


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