T20 World Cup qualifiers: Netherlands hoping coach’s inside knowledge gives them edge over Hong Kong
- Former Hong Kong player Ryan Campbell has been coaching the Dutch team since 2017, with two sides to meet in Zimbabwe next week
- Netherlands opener Max O’Dowd looking to ‘use of all the information’ that Campbell can provide
Netherlands star Max O’Dowd is hoping some insider knowledge will give his side the upper-hand against Hong Kong, when the two teams meet in the T20 World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe next week.
Ryan Campbell, the Dutch head coach, played for Hong Kong at the 2016 tournament alongside the city’s current skipper Nizakat Khan and several other members of the team, and O’Dowd said he was expecting to get the low down from him on the squad.
With two spots for the World Cup in Australia up for grabs, O’Dowd is also determined to give his head coach something to look forward to, as Campbell continues his recovery from a heart attack in April that left him in a week-long coma.
O’Dowd and his side begin their campaign for a fourth successive World Cup appearance on July 11 against Papua New Guinea, before facing the side Campbell represented in 2016.
And while former South African international Ryan Cook has stepped in as interim coach, the Netherlands will be tapping into Campbell’s knowledge of Hong Kong.
“I think Cambo has been sitting on the sidelines itching to get back involved,” O’Dowd said. “It’s obviously great to have him just back in the fold and he’s someone that we talk to regularly.
“He’s been slowly working his way back into practices and team meetings and so on. He’s got a lot of knowledge about that Hong Kong team and someone we turn to quite often about certain bowlers, certain batters.
“I think the last time I played them may have been 2018 or even before that, so I think the side has changed a lot since then. But he probably knows a lot about them, so we’ll be sure to make use of all the info Cambo’s got for us.”
The Netherlands end their group campaign against Uganda and will hope to have done enough to advance to the knockout stages as they search for a third consecutive qualifier tournament win.
Campbell was discharged from hospital in May and will be cheering on from home as the Netherlands take on his former team, among others, in Group B knowing victory could see them head to Australia for the main event in October.
And O’Dowd sees success next week as the perfect chance to repay the 50-year-old’s contribution to the team.
“It was a very difficult time, made even tougher because just a couple of weeks before we had been with him in New Zealand playing in the ODI series,” O’Dowd said.
“Then we were back in the Netherlands and he’s not there, he’s in a coma. That was a very scary thought for everyone and from what we were hearing about the damage that could have been done, it was very frightening.
“We were all so pleased that Ryan did come out of the coma because we were hearing it was touch and go. It was tough for the playing group, but taking it all in, we realised how important he is for Dutch cricket. I’m just glad that he’s back among the fold.
“Obviously he’s not with us in Zimbabwe but he’s been a huge part of the last five years. It would mean a lot for all of us to qualify for Australia and hopefully take him with us to a World Cup in Aussie.”