Dutch coup for Cooper

TOM COOPER has already played international cricket in the orange of the Netherlands, but it is the green and gold for which he yearns.

Cooper, 23, from Corndale, turned out for the Dutch in the World Cricket League Division 1 tournament to prepare for his assignment for South Australia in the Twenty20 Champions League being played in South Africa.

It is his mother Bernadine to whom Cooper owes his initiation into international cricket.

Mrs Cooper was born in the Dutch East Indies to an Indonesian mother and Dutch father who was on a tour of duty with the Dutch air force after World War II.

This heritage makes Tom eligible for a Dutch passport and so came his representation.

And what a debut on the international scene.

Turning out for the Dutch against six other non Test-playing nations in a second-tier limited-overs tournament in Europe, Cooper belted 589 runs in 10 innings.

His 101 and 96 against Afghanistan, 87 and 80 not out against Scotland and 60s against Ireland and Kenya were enough to earn Cooper player of the tournament honours in his first foray in international cricket.

But it was a long time coming.

Cooper played Under-19s for Australia back in 2005-06 and ICC rules state that a cricketer who wants to switch allegiance from a Test-playing nation to a non-Test-playing nation must wait four years.

But just like Victoria Bushrangers quick, Dirk Nannes, who represented the Netherlands in the 2009 ICC World Twenty20, Cooper is free to switch his allegiance back to Australia at any time if selected.

Although unseen, even in Australia A colours, Cooper must be starting to make an appearance on the national selectors’ radar.

Continued good form in the Champions League can’t hurt, but it is in the South Australia Redbacks colours in Australia that Cooper must make his mark.

His father Barry, principal at Modanville Public School, near Lismore, follows Cooper’s progress every step of the way but reckons a call-up to the Australian national side is unrealistic at this point.

“I do think it is a long way off,” he said.

“But if he comes home and smashes a couple of hundreds for South Australia in front of the selectors, who knows?”

And the Netherlands selectors can look forward to another Corndale-grown cricketer entering their ranks.

Cooper’s brother Ben, 17, shows all the signs Tom did as a teenager and will get hold of a Dutch passport very soon.

Let’s just hope they return and play for Australia.

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