Dutch insist focus is not divided after selection controversy

On the evidence of their win over the UAE on Monday, though, the Netherlands are stronger for the furore surrounding the bullying claims by Tim Gruijters.

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SYLHET, BANGLADESH // Dutch cricketers may be the poor relations when it comes to their country’s sporting idols, but they have evidently learnt one thing from their footballing compatriots.

Namely, how to time a divisive controversy involving a scorned player in order to have maximum impact.

On the evidence of their win over the UAE on Monday, though, the Netherlands are stronger for the furore surrounding the bullying claims by Tim Gruijters.

Gruijters was replaced in the squad on the eve of the tournament, but later claimed on YouTube that the tournament’s organisers had been conned by the Dutch management’s report on his injury.

“I don’t think it was a distraction we needed, but I’m very proud of the guys for overcoming that,” said Peter Borren, the Dutch captain.

“As for it galvanising the squad, perhaps. For me, it didn’t affect my focus too much.

“I don’t think it was ideal timing. Having said that, Tim is an adult and he is allowed to express his opinion, I suppose.”

The Netherlands can put themselves into a strong position to qualify for the Super 10 phase today if they beat a Zimbabwe side who are smarting from an opening loss to Ireland.

“It is going to be a tough game against a team we haven’t played against very often,” Borren said. “They have a varied attack and a dangerous batting line up. They will be disappointed about [losing to Ireland] and they will come hard at us.”

Brendan Taylor, Zimbabwe’s captain, is expecting a vastly improved display than that which they managed in their defeat to Ireland.

“When we lose we generally come back stronger,” Taylor said. “Now we have to have two very good games if we are going to progress. We know what we have to do, so I’m pretty sure we will come out and give an improved performance.”

pradley@thenational.ae

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