How Tim Pringle became a Netherlands international before playing … – Stuff

Tim Pringle had simple goals at the start of 2022.
More than anything, he wanted to enjoy his cricket, and he figured that if he did that, debuts for Northern Districts in New Zealand’s domestic competitions wouldn’t be far away.
What he wasn’t expecting was that he would first play international cricket for a country on the other side of the world – a turn of events that would lead to him featuring at the T20 World Cup in Australia in October and November.
An ND debut didn’t materialise last summer for Pringle, but the Bay of Plenty product did get the chance to play for a New Zealand XI against the Netherlands, where he claimed the wicket of their captain at the time, Pieter Seelaar, with his left-arm spin.
Word got around soon afterwards that he had a Dutch passport, having been born in The Hague in 2002, but as he headed north to the Netherlands to play club cricket during the New Zealand winter, he wasn’t expecting anything to come of it.
The next thing he knew, he was named in a squad to play one-day internationals against England, then he was standing at the top of his mark preparing to bowl to some of the best white-ball batters in the world, in the first of four ODIs and 13 T20 internationals he now has under his belt.
Pringle said that if you’d described this turn of events to him a year ago, he would have been speechless.
“I would have thought you were nuts. It’s just the way things panned out. I went over there and didn’t really expect anything, then to play England and NZ and then obviously the World Cup in Australia – it’s been awesome. It’s been exciting stuff for sure.”
Having not even played in the Plunket Shield, Ford Trophy or Super Smash in New Zealand before, the experiences he was able to have with the Netherlands – including a pair of matches against the Black Caps – were also slightly surreal.
“The first time I was involved in the Dutch team against England,” Pringle said, “you’re standing at the top of your mark and the weekend before you’re playing club cricket, then you’re bowling to the likes of Jason Roy and Jos Buttler.
“All those emotions just come out and then you just express yourself. There are so many moments like that that stand out.”
Pringle’s second assignment with the Dutch was the final qualifying tournament for the T20 World Cup, played in Zimbabwe in July, where he played every match as they finished second and booked their ticket to Australia later in the year.
At the tournament itself, he played in the Netherlands’ first six matches – three in round one, where wins over Namibia and the United Arab Emirates and a shock loss by Namibia to the UAE got them through, and three in the Super 12 phase that followed, against Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
Pringle was the most economical of the regular Dutch bowlers, conceding just six runs per over while picking up three wickets at an average of 34 from his 17 overs and earning the praise of his captain, Scott Edwards.
"For a guy who is only 20, he shows a lot of maturity,” the skipper said of Pringle in a post-match interview.
“He has done it all summer and today is just another example of the quality cricketer that he is. You can always rely on him when he’s bowling. The four overs are always going to be the same. He will get a couple of wickets and tie them down. He knows his role perfectly.”
One match Pringle didn’t play was the Netherlands’ last one, where they upset South Africa – a result that not only knocked the Proteas out, but also secured the Dutch a place as an automatic qualifier for the 2024 World Cup, to be played in the Caribbean and the United States.
He said that was “a huge moment,” because it means they can “train towards something specific”.
More pressingly, there is the final qualifying tournament for next year’s ODI World Cup in India, which will take place in Zimbabwe next June and July, with the Netherlands chasing one of two places on offer and looking to return to the 50-over format’s showpiece event for the first time since 2011.
While Pringle is therefore likely to have a busy 18 months ahead in orange, he is also hoping to one day play for New Zealand, as his father Chris did in 14 tests and 64 ODIs in the 90s – a switch more easily made in cricket than in other sports that have stand down periods for those who switch allegiance.
“That’s obviously where I’ve spent my life [in New Zealand] and that’s always been the end goal,” Pringle said of playing for the Black Caps.
“The main thing for me is to enjoy myself and then those kinds of results take care of themselves.
“I haven’t really had too much thought about who I want to play for, but obviously the end goal one day will hopefully be to play for New Zealand.”
Pringle was awarded his first domestic contract in June, while he was taking his first steps with the Netherlands, but it was only after their World Cup campaign ended in November that he joined up with ND and made his first-class and one-day debuts.
A T20 debut is set to follow at some stage in the coming weeks in the Super Smash for the Northern Brave, who begin their campaign at home at Bay Oval against the Canterbury Kings on Friday night.
Pringle only took up bowling spin when he was 15, but five years on, the 20-year-old knows it’s a discipline where he can go far – even if New Zealand isn’t exactly the best place to be one, especially in the first half of the summer.
“There are times where I see the wicket when I first get to the ground and it’s green and then I wish I was still a seamer,” he said.
“Then there are other things like the long spells, hot days and sore rigs – I don’t miss that.”
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