Originally posted on DV Mace’s Smorgasbord of Sport, 13-Oct-2014.
The latest victim of a Six Ball Over is the Netherland’s vice-captain and former Western Australia cricketer Michael Swart.
He’s played played 12 One Day Internationals, and in his 18 international T20s for the Dutchmen he averages just under 28 with the bat (at a 120 Strike Rate) and 26 with the ball (with an RPO under seven).
He’s now played exactly 50 internationals for the men from the Netherlands (excluding matches against domestic opposition), and was an integral part of the line-up at the recent World Twenty20.
Big thanks go to Michael for speaking to me.
1. Firstly, it took you a remarkably long time to break into the Western Australia side, despite scoring heavily in Grade Cricket. Did your lack of game time in State cricket lead you to accept the approach from the Netherlands, after previously rejecting an offer before the T20 World Cup in 2010?
Michael Swart: “Yes, my lack of time in State cricket did lead me to take up an opportunity with the Netherlands. I’ve been fortunate to play against many world class teams and in a T20 World Cup but for me getting a chance to wear the West Aussie baggy has been the pinnacle for me.”
2. In 2011 there was that bizarre situation with certain people saying you were in the Netherlands side, the others saying you weren’t, but since then you’ve become the vice-captain of the national side. Are you proud of your growth in such a short time?
MS: “I’ve always been a captain since a young age so I guess I’ve never really known any other way. The Dutch are a great bunch of guys who work so hard on getting the most out of their talent and having captained the team a few times has been a good challenge.”
3. Do you remain disappointed that your WA career was cut short?
MS: “Yes I’m very disappointed that my WA career was cut short but at the time the “youth” policy was in so I guess being a little older was always against me. I think I was picked a little late and could have offered a bit more a few years earlier but to get a chance was the highlight of my career. I’m such a proud West Aussie and growing up all I wanted was to play for WA. So achieving that was very satisfying.”
4. Would you consider the Netherlands’ loss of ODI status earlier this year as the low point of your career with the team? Conversely, was the defeat of the English or the hammering of the Irish at the World T20 the highest point?
MS: “Losing ODI status was such a big loss for us. Losing funding and games all because of one day’s rain in Canada is a bitter pill to swallow but those are the rules and cricket is about highs and lows and that was certainly a low. I know the boys are eager to make amends starting in Namibia in January. It’s funny ‘cause leading up to the England game we were playing some great cricket so beating England was almost a reward for all our hard work and we knew that we were capable of putting in a good performance but the Ireland world record game was just so surreal. We were so down at half time it was almost like we had nothing to lose ‘cause we were so far buried. I think this actually helped us out a lot and allowed us to just go out there and play fearlessly. It was an amazing day and even better night!”
5. You ended up opening the bowling for the Netherlands at the World T20 this year. Would you consider your bowling development as your proudest achievement as a professional cricketer?
MS: “Bowling for me is always a bit of fun. I’ve always been a very part time bowler and somehow the Dutch have tried to make me full time. Bowling is always a laugh for me. I’m a batsman who “tries” to bowl, but very part time! I think seeing me with a new ball in my hand is quite embarrassing.”
6. How do you believe the Netherlands no longer being involved in the English domestic one day competition will impact on the game in the Netherlands?
MS: “The CB40 was such a fantastic competition for Holland to be involved with. It gave us the exposure and game time against some really good opposition and helped us bridge the gap between club cricket and List A cricket. It’s definitely a big loss.”