Klaassen: Blast experiences will help in T20 World Cup

Friday 15th October 2021

Men’s First Team

Klaassen: Blast experiences will help in T20 World Cup

With the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup beginning this Sunday (17 October), Kent’s Fred Klaassen is preparing for his Netherlands’ first Round 1 Match against Ireland on Monday.

The Netherlands go into the tournament on the back of a very strong showing in 2019’s World Cup Qualifier event, which our left-arm seamer as a big part of, but how did Klaassen get to play for the Netherlands?

“My grandfather was born in Eindhoven and my grandmother is a New Zealander”, he explains.

“They had seven children, living in Auckland their whole life. My dad was the oldest of their kids, so my siblings and I have had Dutch passports since the day we were born.

“I grew up mostly in New Zealand and Australia – I’m a New Zealander as well, I went to University in New Zealand. After Uni I came to the UK to play club cricket – firstly for Norwich Cricket Club and then a season in Scotland.

“At that time, the 2015 World Cup Qualifiers were on, and a League XI side was put together to face both Canada and the Netherlands – that match was rained off but that’s the first time I made contact with the Dutch team.

“From there I came over to Holland and played for Netherlands A, before signing for VRA in Amsterdam to play my club cricket”.

Klaassen heads to UAE and Oman on the back of his first major tournament win in county cricket, the Vitality Blast.

“It was the first time for me, being at a Finals Day. I’ve been at Kent for three seasons now, so it was a massive day. I was a bit apprehensive going into the day and there were a lot of emotions!

“We managed to beat Sussex, a very good side, in our semi-final. It was a strange feeling to win such a big game in the semi but then also getting the realisation that the Final was an hour and a half later; mentally, that was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, really – trying to relax and also preparing for the final.

“Once the final came, that hour and a half went very quickly. We were running off the last game, so there wasn’t much in terms of warm-ups.

“When we went out to bowl I felt the cramp come on a little bit so that was a little bit worrying, but I managed to get through a couple of overs and I took a wicket.

“We all managed to get through the game unscathed, and to get the win which was a great thing to be a part of.”

The 28-year-old thinks that his experiences of playing on the big stage with Kent will help him going into the T20 World Cup.

“You’re on the big stage when you’re in the final of the Vitality Blast, and I think my experience from that and even playing in a few bigger games this year, playing in The Hundred, it doesn’t really get too much for me.

“At your first experience of a big game or a big crowd the nerves can get the better of you, but I think naturally you become accustomed to it. You never get used to it but you turn it into a positive and learn to thrive under nervous energy rather than shying away from it.

“Definitely ahead of Finals Day I wanted to be aggressive and leave everything on the field, and that came to fruition – especially in that semi-final.

“I’m looking to take that into the World Cup, especially playing against big nations. We need to get through that first round of games first, all massive fixtures, but we had big games in our 2019 Qualifier – we’re accustomed to it as a team and I’m looking forward to it.”

And mentions of being part of a title-winning Kent squad soon talk to the contributions of one Darren Ian Stevens.

“He’s part of folklore back in Canterbury – it’s awesome. Playing with him, you don’t think he’s a 45-year-old, he’s got the energy of an 18-year-old.

“If you ask him, he wouldn’t think he’s 45 at all – but with that age obviously comes experience so it wasn’t surprising that he did so well at Finals Day – he’s experienced at being on the big stage.

“It’s great learning off him, I’ve got to know him and spent a bit of time of him so that’s great too.”

But Klaassen remains upbeat about the chances Netherlands have of going far in the tournament, with their first match coming against a Test-playing nation in Ireland on Monday.

“We had a very successful Qualifier, and I don’t think that was a surprise with the preparation that we had and our mindset. Our role clarity was very important for our team and I think that helped us succeed quite nicely in winning that Qualifier.

“I think there’s a lot we can take from 2019, obviously this is another step up for us, playing some of the Test playing nations, but we’ve grown as a side and we’ve seen that we can beat teams like Ireland.

“I’ve been around the Dutch side for a few years now and there’s a real belief about us that we can upset some of those big teams and it’s great going in as the underdogs – but we’ve got world class players in our team as well. It plays into our advantage a lot.

“Some of the big nations won’t take us likely and we’re a bit of a dark horse – I’m really looking forward to it!”

Fred Klaassen was talking to the KNCB ahead of the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

Men's ICC T20 World Cup Groups

Selected 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup fixtures:

  • Sunday 17 October (15:00 BST) – Bangladesh vs. Scotland (George Munsey, Calum MacLeod, Safyaan Sharif)
  • Monday 18 October (11:00 BST) – Ireland vs. Netherlands (Fred Klaassen)
  • Tuesday 19 October (11:00 BST) – Scotland (George Munsey, Calum MacLeod, Safyaan Sharif) vs. Papua New Guinea
  • Wednesday 20 October (11:00 BST) – Namibia vs. Netherlands (Fred Klaassen)
  • Thursday 21 October (15:00 BST) – Oman vs. Scotland (George Munsey, Calum MacLeod, Safyaan Sharif)
  • Friday 22 October (15:00 BST) – Sri Lanka vs. Netherlands (Fred Klaassen)
  • Saturday 23 October (15:00 BST) – England (Sam Billings) vs. West Indies
  • Wednesday 27 October (11:00 BST) – England (Sam Billings) vs. B2 Round 1 Qualifier
  • Saturday 30 October (15:00 BST) – Australia vs. England (Sam Billings)
  • Monday 1 November (14:00 GMT) – England (Sam Billings) vs. A1 Round 1 Qualifier
  • Saturday 6 November (14:00 GMT) – England (Sam Billings) vs. South Africa
  • Wednesday 10 November (14:00 GMT) – Semi Final 1
  • Thursday 11 November (14:00 GMT) – Semi Final 2
  • Sunday 14 November (14:00 GMT) – Final

Every match of the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup will be shown live on Sky Sports in the UK.

Kent Cricket’s Fireworks Evening returns for 2021 on Friday 5 November, in partnership with Cygnet Hospital Maidstone and Cygnet Hospital Godden Green

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ts in the UK.