De Leede is a noted surname in Dutch cricket. Tim, the father, played three World Cups for the Netherlands — in 1996, 2003 and 2007 — and was part of the only two match victories at the quadrennial extravaganza. Twenty-seven years after Tim first journeyed to India, son Bas is here to add to both his family’s and country’s cricketing history.
“Just being here and feeling the energy is pretty cool,” Bas told The Hindu during the Netherlands’ preparatory camp here. “When I speak to my dad, he loves looking back. Obviously, the Dutch don’t have a great record in the tournament. We’re hoping to change that.”
Going by his team’s performances in the last 12 months, there is room for optimism. At the 2022 T20 World Cup, the Netherlands beat South Africa in stunning fashion, finished above Test nations in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, and earned a direct slot for the 2024 T20 World Cup. In the World Cup Qualifier earlier in 2023, Netherlands defeated both West Indies and Scotland to punch its ticket.
De Leede’s was the central role in the victory over Scotland. Required to chase down 277 inside 44 overs to earn qualification, the 23-year-old smashed a 92-ball 123 to go with bowling figures of five for 52. Only four other cricketers in ODI history had scored a century and taken five wickets in an innings.
“During the game, I wasn’t thinking much about it. After the game, we had a couple of drinks and then it kind of sank in. It was such a nice moment. Now, I’m just looking forward to getting more opportunities against the best in the world.”
In football and hockey, the Dutch are known for being tactical revolutionaries, with the most famous being Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff’s Total Football concept. De Leede doesn’t believe cricket quite offers the space for such experiments, though he and his teammates have made the odd try.
“Even from before the Qualifier, we have been working on being better in certain aspects that others may not look at… like running a lot of twos. But, in the end, I feel the team that does the basics the best will play the best cricket.”
Sadly, however deep an imprint Netherlands manages to leave in India, fans back home cannot witness it live, for there is no broadcast deal in place.
“That’s how small the sport is. It’s not growing at the moment. But I think there’s a real possibility [to grow] with the performances we’ve put in. We have to keep performing and we’ll hopefully get more attention.”