Riding the Orange Wave, Roelof van der Merwe Wants to Put ‘Consistent’ Foot Forward for Netherlands

On October 17, Tuesday, India experienced a unique evening. The sky turned a dark black with a hint of orange, creating a truly memorable atmosphere.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, it was still evening at 7:30 PM. The sun had set, and the sky was filled with darkness and a sense of fear.

Interestingly, the Netherlands, located north of South Africa, shares the same time zone but not the same sky color. While the sun had set, the sky in the Netherlands remained a vibrant orange. The team’s victory against South Africa filled the atmosphere with even more energy, making the orange glow even brighter.

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The Dutch team drew inspiration from their experienced player, Roelof van der Merwe, who has been playing cricket for over a decade.

Van der Merwe, now 38 years old, began playing cricket before his teammates Aryan Dutt and Vikramjit Singh were even born.

Van der Merwe made his debut for South Africa over a decade ago in 2009. To provide some context, that same year, Barack Obama was elected as President of the United States, Microsoft released Windows 7, Manmohan Singh became India’s Prime Minister, and players like Umar Akmal, Mohammed Ameer, and JP Duminy made their international debuts.

Despite his experience, Van der Merwe humbly considers himself a consistent performer above all else.

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Van der Merwe stated, “As a senior player in the team, my role remains that of a consistent performer. I don’t expect this role to change. I simply aim to consistently contribute to the team’s success,” in an interview with News 18 CricketNext.

After not being included in the South African team after 2010, Van der Merwe moved to the Netherlands in 2015. Alongside him, Sybrand Engelbrecht and Colin Ackermann have also represented South Africa in the past.

Regarding the migration of cricketers, Van der Merwe believes there isn’t a specific reason for it. He expressed, “I’m not too sure why South African players leave and play for the Netherlands. I think it depends on the opportunities that come their way and where they are in the world. There isn’t a fixed reason behind it; it’s just how things have worked out.”

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Van der Merwe emphasized his excitement about playing in his first ODI World Cup despite his long career, representing two countries. He believes it’s a privilege that not many people get, and he looks forward to the tournament held in a country with passionate cricket supporters.

The Dutch team’s recent victory against South Africa at the Dharamshala’s HPCA Stadium marks a great start to their World Cup campaign. Despite having many South Africans in their dressing room, Van der Merwe believes the win was a result of playing better cricket on those particular days, rather than the origins of the players.

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Van der Merwe expressed his gratitude towards the environment within the Netherlands team, which motivates him to perform his best. He said, “Playing for the Netherlands has been an awesome experience. We have a great group of guys and amazing support staff. They create an environment that makes it easy to give your best and perform at your highest level. Everyone is on the same page.”

Colin Edwards, the Dutch skipper, played a crucial role with the bat during the first innings. Van der Merwe believes they had a defendable total on the board.

Reflecting on the game, Van der Merwe stated, “At the halfway point, we were content with our score. We knew it was something we could defend, even though it wasn’t a comfortable total. However, in cricket, the game is never fully under your control. It just takes one player to change the momentum and seize the initiative. Nevertheless, when South Africa needed more than six runs per ball, I felt comfortable that we would win. It was a great performance by the boys, and we look forward to building on it.”


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