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Logan van Beek’s Journey to the World Cup Through Plan B

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The versatile player played a crucial role in Netherlands’ qualification for the tournament, a position that could have easily been occupied by him for New Zealand instead. Logan van Beek’s, The journey of a professional athlete can hinge on talent and luck as much as on preparation and strategy. Logan van Beek is a proponent of the latter approach. During his early days in New Zealand’s domestic cricket scene with Canterbury, he set forth a series of objectives, one of which was to participate in the 2015 World Cup.

Logan van Beek’s Path to the 2015 World Cup

Logan van Beek’s, In early 2015, the prospect of competing in the World Cup. Seemed more like a distant dream than a tangible goal for Logan van Beek. With a mere 15 List A matches played over the span of four years. His averages of 9.00 with the bat and 40.00 with the ball presented a challenging scenario. Had those figures been reversed, his position in the squad would have been secure. However, as they stood, he found himself nowhere near selection – a realization he was acutely aware of.

Reflecting on that time, van Beek shared, “I was living with Tom Latham and Matt Henry at the time. And they both got picked in that squad and I didn’t get picked.” Recalling the moments in Harare, on the eve of the World Cup Qualifier final where Netherlands would face Sri Lanka. He acknowledged, I wasn’t even close at the time. But it’s still pretty tough when you’ve got two of your close mates. Playing in a World Cup that you want to be playing in. Still, it was amazing to watch them.

New Zealand’s Glorious Campaign and van Beek’s Ascent

New Zealand’s campaign at the tournament was nothing short of exceptional. The team claimed victory in all eight matches played on home turf. Notably triumphing over eventual champions Australia during the group stage. Quarter-final and semi-final wins against West Indies and South Africa respectively. (who can forget the South Africa match?) further solidified their remarkable journey. Despite the limited appearances of players like Henry and Latham, van Beek found himself not trailing too far behind.

Looking ahead, van Beek articulated his aspirations, stating, “The next goal was to play the 2019 World Cup. I was going to be in my prime then [at 28], so if I could achieve that, that would be amazing.”

In the intervening four years between the two World Cups. Van Beek’s tally of List A caps surged by over 30, marking significant growth. Notably, he also made his international debut during this time – although not for the nation one might assume.

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Embracing Dual Heritage: Logan van Beek’s Unique Identity

Though hailing from Canterbury, van Beek’s heritage is a blend that has forged a distinct identity. He has consistently seen himself as a fusion. Of “a West Indian and a Kiwi,” a sentiment deeply rooted in his lineage. The West Indian connection stems from his maternal grandfather, Sammy Guillen. Who transplanted from Trinidad and Tobago to New Zealand in the mid-1950s. Guillen remarkably played Test cricket for both West Indies and New Zealand. With many of his matches pitting the two sides against each other. This familial link left an indelible mark on van Beek. Leading him to choose cricket over basketball, all thanks to his grandfather’s influence.

Van Beek reminisced, “I was very close to my grandfather. He was my idol. I looked up to him and I just wanted to be like him. He sang, he danced, he was the biggest character in our family. And so cricket was always going to be what I was going to play.”

However, intriguingly, it wasn’t West Indies that called upon van Beek’s talents in the period between the two World Cups.

“I also had this Dutch passport in my drawer somewhere,” he disclosed.

On his father’s side, van Beek’s lineage can be traced back to Holland. Although his paternal grandfather passed away when he was five. This heritage bestowed upon him a Dutch passport, a document that would later prove pivotal in shaping his career trajectory.

Transitioning Identities: Logan van Beek’s Cricketing Journey

In 2017, a notable shift in van Beek’s cricketing trajectory saw him representing. The Netherlands in series against Zimbabwe and the UAE. However, he soon returned to New Zealand later that same year, engaging in domestic cricket during the southern-hemisphere summer. The following year, 2018, marked his selection for New Zealand A in a series against Pakistan A.

Unlike the transition between Associate and Full Member status which does not require a qualification period, moving from representing an Associate member country to a Full Member nation doesn’t have a set time frame. For van Beek, this meant the potential to switch from the Netherlands to New Zealand was a real possibility, contingent on his selection. Yet, despite this option, his statistics didn’t show rapid improvement. During the interim between the World Cups, his batting average rose to 17.27, and he secured 41 wickets at an average of 28.43. However, this progress was not enough to secure his spot in the squad. In contrast, his friends Latham and Henry both made the cut and played in a final that remains one of the most memorable 50-over matches in history.

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A Glimpse of Greatness: Logan van Beek’s Pursuit of the Ultimate Dream

Reflecting on the unforgettable spectacle he witnessed from the stands, van Beek recalled, “I was there, watching from the stands, and it was the most unbelievable game that I’ve ever experienced. I was so proud of them, but I was also very jealous because I wanted to be there.”

Driven by his unwavering determination, van Beek returned to his trusty notepad and pen, inscribing another goal for himself: securing a place in the 2023 World Cup. He sensed that he was gradually edging closer, relentlessly chipping away at his ambitions.

In the 2022-23 cricket season, van Beek participated in both first-class and List A matches for New Zealand, facing formidable opponents like India and Australia. However, his performance yielded only two instances of reaching double figures with the bat, and his 14 wickets across six matches came at an average just below 30. It was at this juncture that the stark reality set in. “I am not quite in the picture,” he conceded, acknowledging the abundance of exceptional talent within the New Zealand squad. The likes of Kyle Jamieson, Matt Henry, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, and Scott Kuggeleijn comprised an imposing line-up that made securing a spot challenging.

Nonetheless, New Zealand wasn’t the sole path available to van Beek. While his endeavors to break into the national team were met with obstacles, he found solace in representing the Dutch side. Engaging in white-ball formats for the Netherlands, including the previous year’s T20 World Cup where the team advanced to the Super 12s, provided valuable experiences. Yet, despite these achievements, van Beek’s ultimate aspiration remained untouched. As he affirmed, “It was a great experience but the 50-over World Cup is the pinnacle of cricket, in my opinion.”

Navigating Challenges: Logan van Beek’s Resilient Path

A potential route lay ahead for the Netherlands to make their mark. As the sole Associate team featured in the 13-team World Cup Super League, there existed an avenue for automatic qualification. However, their journey toward securing a spot based on points-table standings proved to be an uphill battle. With just three victories out of 24 ODIs, their chances seemed remote. Van Beek was an active participant in 15 of these matches. Offering him a firsthand perspective on their fading World Cup prospects.

In the face of such adversity, van Beek had developed a coping mechanism. Channeling his energy toward other facets of life. Prioritizing relationships with his spouse, parents, siblings, and friends above all else, he asserted, “My relationships with my wife, with my parents, with my brothers and sisters and with my friends, they are my No. 1 and then cricket comes after that.” He went on to emphasize the importance of holistic well-being, encompassing physical health, emotional bonds, and cricketing progress. This approach led him to a point of equilibrium where he was able to let go. Understanding that certain elements are beyond his control.

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Rising from the Depths: Netherlands’ Inspiring Qualification Quest

Emerging from the depths of the standings, the Dutch cricket team appeared to be on the brink of elimination. Yet, even in defeat, they garnered invaluable lessons. Distinguished from their Associate counterparts, the Netherlands engaged in regular matchups with Full Member teams, including reigning World Cup champions England. Through these encounters, they humbly absorbed lessons while meticulously honing their skills. As the pivotal World Cup qualification campaign approached, circumstances had them without their frontline attack due to county-cricket obligations. Despite this challenge, a sense of readiness pervaded the Dutch squad, buoyed by a subtle optimism expressed by van Beek: “I was thinking, ‘Okay, this is going to be tough to qualify for the World Cup. But you know, we’re here, we’ve got a chance.'”

Earlier-year experiences, such as their tour of Zimbabwe where they secured their first ODI victory, and Teja Nidamanuru’s century in that match, bolstered their confidence. Notably, the team hadn’t seen a centurion since Wesley Barresi’s hundred against Kenya in 2014. Recognizing the importance of substantial scores on batting-friendly pitches, the Netherlands encountered the reality during their initial Qualifiers game against Zimbabwe. Despite posting 315 runs, the absence of a century in their innings was glaring as Zimbabwe overtook the score with more than nine overs to spare. Van Beek’s assessment proved accurate: the road to the World Cup would indeed be arduous.

Predictable victories against USA and Nepal set the stage, but it was a remarkable tie against West Indies, followed by a triumphant Super Over, that propelled the Netherlands into serious contention. Against all odds, the prospect of reaching the World Cup became a tangible ambition. Van Beek stood as a central figure in this narrative, elevating his role against West Indies. He leveled the scores with a blistering 28 off 14 balls, dominated the Super Over with consecutive boundaries or maximums, and sealed the victory by defending the target with the ball.

The Culmination of a Long Pursuit

The match was tailor-made for him. “My entire career, I’ve been striving to be the closer—the one who clinches victory, shakes hands, and removes the stumps before departing the field. I’ve been in that situation countless times, only to fall short,” he shared.

Over dinner, a conversation with Jade Dernbach, a teammate from their time together at Derbyshire, triggered a transformative realization for van Beek. “He [Dernbach] told me, ‘If you aspire to be a finisher, you must embrace failure just as you do success. You have to confront failure as readily as you embrace victories.’ That perspective has since become my guiding principle,” van Beek explained. “I’ve come to terms with the fact that expecting success every single time I’m in the final over is unrealistic. Instead, if I enter those decisive moments with a practical mindset, adhering to my process, and giving myself the optimal chance, I might succeed every third or fourth time.”

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Triumph Amidst Transformations

During the World Cup Qualifiers, van Beek managed to achieve this feat twice within the span of four games—albeit in a unique manner. Following the exhilarating victory against West Indies. Netherlands faced the task of overcoming Scotland and securing a higher net run rate to secure a top-two finish. With a target of 278 within 44 overs, Bas de Leede’s century kept the Netherlands in contention. And it was van Beek who had the honor of striking the winning run. Reflecting on the moment, van Beek expressed, “It was kind of nice that Bas gave me the opportunity to do that. So I could tick another game off the list that I finished.”

After an arduous eight-year journey, van Beek’s World Cup aspiration finally materialized—albeit in a manner that deviated from his initial envisioning. He remarked, “The first thought that I had walking off the field was that I wrote down that goal of playing the 2023 World Cup and I probably didn’t get right which team I was going to play with.” Acknowledging the unpredictability of one’s career trajectory, he emphasized the futility of trying to control the exact timing and circumstances. As he reflected, “You never know how your career is going to play out. As soon as you think that you need to be in a certain spot at a certain time, more often than not, you will be disappointed. Maybe I had to wait to have a Super Over and for my career to take a different turn.”

Unyielding Resilience: van Beek’s Guiding Motto

Perhaps this very perspective encapsulates van Beek’s unwavering motto: “Fall seven times, stand up eight,” a sentiment he envisions as the future title of his autobiography. He articulates, “I know I’m just going to keep picking myself back up and keep turning up. That’s the way I play and that’s how I’m going to keep playing.” With palpable anticipation, he eagerly awaits the realization of his long-held goal—participating in the World Cup. The prospect of boarding a plane to India and immersing himself in the battle without preconceived notions excites him. As he puts it, “I cannot wait to tick this goal off, of playing the World Cup. I cannot wait to get on the plane to India and just go out there and play and have no expectations and enjoy the battle.”

Van Beek’s mindset resonates with the collective ethos of the entire squad. The term “Associate” finds no place in their lexicon; they proudly identify as the Netherlands cricket team, striving for equal recognition as any other tournament contender. “It’s a ten-team competition and we’ve earned the right to be there, so we should be treated just the same as any other team,” van Beek asserts. “We should have the respect of those other teams that are there. If they take us lightly, then they might cop the same thing as West Indies.”

This proclamation carries significant weight, considering West Indies’ absence from this World Cup despite being two-time champions. Van Beek’s role, as a part West Indian, played a pivotal role in this outcome. Among the participating teams at this World Cup, van Beek and the Netherlands will also face off against his home country, New Zealand—a prospect that may very well inspire him to inscribe another goal as you read this.

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