Bas de Leede: Off the field, I’ve not met a Pakistani I haven’t liked

Dutch allrounder on foes becoming friends when the Pakistani contingent arrive to play ILT20 with Desert Vipers

Netherlands allrounder Bas de Leede will turn out for Desert Vipers at this year's ILT20. AFP
Powered by automated translation

It is difficult to tell, given his face seems to be almost permanently cracking with laughter lines. But Bas de Leede, the amiable allrounder from the Netherlands, does not appear to have any lasting scarring from the horrific blow he was struck by Haris Rauf back in 2022.

Neither outside nor in. There was much distress when De Leede was helped from the field after being hit near his eye by a fearsome bouncer from the Pakistan pace bowler at the T20 World Cup in Perth.

His courage was immediately apparent. He was back on the field in short time for the Netherlands at that event, playing a role in a shock win over South Africa which in fact did Rauf and his Pakistan teammates a huge favour.

They reached the final partly thanks to the Dutch. So the next time they met on the world stage, at the 50-over World Cup in India last year, it might have been easy to expect the two sides to play nice.

Not so. As soon as De Leede and Rauf were reacquainted in Hyderabad, they were straight back at it. Their rivalry has become appointment viewing, and it is clear how highly Pakistan value De Leede’s wicket.

“He even came and said it to me,” De Leede, 24, said when asked if he thought Rauf was trying to hit him again in the game in Hyderabad.

“The ball before I hit him for six I had tried to pull one but missed, and it looked pretty awkward. He said, ‘I’ll come and hit you again.’

“I said, ‘Do it!’ [Laughs]. Luckily, I hit the next one.”

De Leede is happy to be one half of such a compelling double act, even if it does mean putting himself in harm’s way. And he has full respect for his opposite number, too.

“It was funny. As a fast bowler, you have to be aggressive to make it on the big stage,” he said.

“The kindness that he showed after the game when he hit me, then after the last game as well, he didn’t have to do it, but it was nice that he did.

“Off the field, I have not met an angry Pakistani, or one that I haven’t liked.

“It was pretty scary at the start, but luckily there wasn’t anything wrong with me. I am looking forward to the next time I face him, as I’m sure he will bring a little bit extra again.”

Fortunately for him, De Leede will be able to call some leading Pakistani players his teammates over the next month.

He is playing for Desert Vipers, who begin their DP World International League T20 campaign when they face Abu Dhabi Knight Riders at Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

Mohammed Amir is already with the Vipers squad at their base in Jebel Ali, with Shaheen Afridi, Azam Khan and Shadab Khan set to join once national team commitments and fitness permits.

“When we play against them, obviously they are playing to win,” De Leede said of his experience of playing against Pakistan so far.

“But, last year we had a series against them in Rotterdam, and they were so kind and helpful after the games.

“We were speaking to them about ways they see their cricket, and ways we can improve our cricket. Especially with our young spinners, they were fantastic.

“Coming into a team with guys like that, it is going to be great and I think I can learn a lot from them. Hopefully they can give me a couple more secrets now that I am playing with them rather than against them.”

De Leede played a small role for MI Emirates when they finished third in the first ILT20 last year. He switched ahead of the new campaign to a Vipers side who were runners-up in the first season, and are focused on going one better this time around.

The move has pitted De Leede into a team with a fellow Associate all-rounder with whom he shares a distinctive feat.

When he hit 123 and took five for 52 against Scotland in Zimbabwe last summer to help the Dutch to World Cup qualification, De Leede joined an elite group.

He was only the fourth player to score a ton and take a five-for in the same ODI. Previous to him were Viv Richards, Paul Collingwood, and Rohan Mustafa, the UAE allrounder who opens the batting for the Vipers.

“If we can replicate anything like that this season, it’ll be good,” De Leede said.

“It is funny. I hadn’t thought about that for a while, but it is pretty special to be half of the people in the world to have done that.”

Updated: January 20, 2024, 7:56 AM