ZIMBABWE national team cricketers are likely to come up against a very familiar face when they take on the Netherlands in a three-match One Day International (ODI) series in June following the inclusion of Harare-born Shane Snater in the Dutch squad for the upcoming tour.BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The 21-year-old Snater, a former St John’s College student, who represented Zimbabwe in age grade cricket until 2013, was called up to the Netherlands’ 24-man training squad for the upcoming season which will include matches against Heath Streak’s men.
Snater, a tall seaming all-rounder, made his international first class cricket debut for the Netherlands against Afghanistan in 2016, but is yet to represent the Dutch in the 50-over format.
Although Snater made his List A debut for the Dutch against Hong Kong in the ICC World Cricket League Championship in February, his ODI debut could come against his country of birth, Zimbabwe.
Snater was part of Zimbabwe’s provisional Under-19 squad for the 2016 ICC Under-19 World Cup held in Bangladesh, which included some of the country’s rising stars such as Brendan Mavuta, Richard Ngarava, Jeremy Ives, but he failed to make the final squad.
Ngarava has gone on to make his senior national team debut after featuring during the five-match ODI series against Afghanistan.
Snater, who graduated from St John’s College in Harare in 2014, has also represented Zimbabwe in Rugby 7s at the 2014 African Youth Games in Botswana.
He was also part of the Zimbabwe Under-19 squad for the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy qualifiers held in Namibia.
Netherlands’ 24-player squad announced by the governing body for cricket in that country, Koninklijke Nederlandse Cricket Board, includes six players playing professional cricket in New Zealand, England and Australia.
The six players who are based outside the Netherlands are Logan van Beek (Canterbury), Tom Cooper (South Australia), Paul van Meekeren (Somerset), Michael Rippon (Otago), Timm van der Gugten (Glamorgan) and Roelof van der Merwe (Somerset).
Zimbabwe Cricket recently confirmed the three-match ODI series against Associate side Netherlands which will take place on June 20, 22 and 24 at a venue yet to be confirmed.
They will come just three days after the national side’s already scheduled two ODIs against Scotland at the Grange in Edinburgh.
Netherlands currently sit in first place in the WCL Championship — the limited-overs competition featuring the top eight Associates outside of the ODI rankings table — effectively making them the 13th ranked team in 50-over cricket.
Zimbabwe are currently 11th on the ODI rankings table, one spot ahead of Ireland but one behind Afghanistan.
Zimbabwe and Netherlands have played each other on two prior occasions in ODIs or T20Is.
The first was a 99-run Zimbabwe win at Bulawayo in the 2003 World Cup. They would wait more than 11 years before squaring off again and Zimbabwe were once again victorious, sealing a last-ball five-wicket win in the opening round of the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh, though Netherlands ultimately progressed ahead of Zimbabwe into the main draw after completing a stunning chase against Ireland.
However, this is not the first Zimbabwe tour to the Netherlands. A Zimbabwe XI beat the Dutch by 137 runs at Amstelveen in a 2010 Intercontinental Cup match when Zimbabwe entered a side in the Associate four-day competition to help prepare themselves for re-entry into the Test arena.
Netherlands had beaten the same Zimbabwe XI by 58 runs two days prior to the I-Cup contest, bowling them out for 136 in a 50-over contest.