Roelef van der Merwe who last played International Cricket five years ago for South Africa is attempting to resurrect his career by playing for Netherlands. The all rounder secured a Dutch passport on Monday and made himself available for Netherlands. He was included in their squad to play against Nepal for a T20I the day after confirming his documentation but was not named in the starting XI today. He has said that his ultimate aim was to help Netherlands qualify for world T20.
His new passport also means he can play county cricket as a local player. Van der Merwe spent nine seasons with the Titans franchise and was an integral part of their set-up, but decided to move on in the hope of playing at the highest level again and prolonging his career.
“It has been a privilege and an amazing journey to be part of the Titans family for the past eight years. My cricket journey will continue, but I have decided on a different path that could be beneficial to my long-term career and family life,” Van der Merwe said in a statement issued by Titans. Van der Merwe made key contributions for Titans. He bowled them to the one-day cup final in the 2013-14 season, with 15 wickets in a 12-match campaign and was their leading run-scorer in last summer’s first-class competition with 774 runs at an average of 55.28.
His never say die attitude did not put Van der Merwe on the South African selectors’ radar. He played 13 ODIs and the same number of T20Is between 2009 and 2010 and was part of the 2010 World T20 squad.
He remained part of South African A squads and often seemed on the fringes of a comeback, especially as South Africa searched for an all rounder, but was not re-selected. Van der Merwe made use of his Dutch ancestry to open doors to play for Netherlands. He is not the first South African to go Dutch. Ryan ten Doeschate and Stephen Myburgh are among the other South Africans who have played for Netherlands.