Busy Winter for Paul van Meekeren

Somerset’s Dutch fast bowler Paul van Meekeren has a busy winter ahead of him.

The 24 year old is on his way to Zimbabwe to meet up with the Netherlands squad that is set to play three one-day matches against a Zimbabwe Select XI before taking on Kenya in two ICC World Cricket League Championship games in Nairobi.

“I got a call inviting me to join the national squad and as I wasn’t involved in the final County Championship match of the season I am now heading out to Zimbabwe,” said Paul when we spoke to him this week.

As he explained, it is a young Dutch team that will be playing in the initial matches. “Roelof and some of the other senior players will be joining us after the final round of County Championship matches. We’ve got a few younger guys in the squad now but it should be good and exciting. Playing strong opposition can only be a good experience for us. We’ve never been to Zimbabwe before so it will be a new challenge in new conditions.”

It’s going to be a busy few months for Paul. “After the games against Kenya I hope to spend a little bit of time at home,” he said. “But after that we are off to South Africa for a week to help prep for the last round of the World Cricket League in Dubai in December. There we play Hong Kong in two one-day games before a four-day match and two one-day matches against Namibia. After that I will be going home for Christmas before a World Cup Qualifier early next year. There might also be a Desert T20 competition too but we will have to wait and see.”

How does Paul think that 2017 has gone for him at Somerset? “It’s been great,” he said. “I made my County debut this year which went pretty well and I played some NatWest T20 Blast games as well as a Royal London One-Day Cup match. Ideally I would have liked to play a few more games but towards the end of the year the pitches favoured the spinners. I knew I would be spending the majority of my time playing for the Second Team but I took quite a lot of wickets and I think I did reasonable well in the First Team. I’m still learning a lot and I’m happy with the progress that I’ve made this year.”

During his time with the Club Paul, who signed a one year extension to his contract this summer, has played an active role within our Community Engagement Programme about which he said: “That sort of thing is a blast. The two things that stood out for me this year are the work that we did with Selworthy Special School and All Stars Cricket. The Selworthy School trips are always an eye-opener and an unbelievable experience. To see those kids having a good time is really good. The All Stars Cricket is a great initiative from the ECB and I really enjoyed going along to some sessions. It was great to see all those kids being introduced to the game.”

During the home match against Lancashire Paul also made his debut over the airwaves when he joined the BBC’s ball by ball commentary team, an experience that he thoroughly enjoyed. “I really enjoyed doing the commentary,” he said. “I ended up doing quite a long stint and hopefully I can do it again next year, if I’m not playing for the First Team that is!”

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