Netherlands ‘cheated’ to replace me with Cooper, says Gruijters

Image courtesy of: The Guardian

“I would have played in the Dutch cricket team had it not been for the fact that the Dutch coaching staff decided to bend the rules, act against the spirit of cricket and basically cheat”

Netherlands batsman Tim Gruijters has revealed that the team management claimed that he had an injury in order to add all-rounder Tom Cooper into the country’s World Twenty20 squad.

However, Gruijters stated that he never sustained an injury and added that the team “basically cheated” in an attempt to add Cooper into the squad.

“The KNCB followed that procedure by obtaining independent medical advice confirming an injury to Tim Gruijters before requesting a replacement player,” the International Cricket Council (ICC) statement said when Netherlands filed an inquiry to get Gruijters replaced. “We are satisfied that the KNCB acted within the ICC’s tournament rules during this process.”

However, Gruijters uploaded a video via YouTube to reveal that the Netherlands were lying to everyone.

“I would have played in the Dutch cricket team had it not been for the fact that the Dutch coaching staff decided to bend the rules, act against the spirit of cricket and basically cheat,” he said. “Let me give you the facts.

“Fact number one: on Thursday the 13th of March, Tom Cooper became unexpectedly available for the Dutch team after narrowly missing out on the Sheffield Shield final. Tom Cooper is probably the best batsman eligible to play for the Netherlands.

“Fact two: on the same day some team-mates and I had talked about Tom’s availability. We all agreed that no one was injured so it would be impossible for Tom Cooper to play.

“Fact three: the next morning, the 14th of March, the coaching staff called me to their room. They told me that I would be in the first XI had Tom Cooper not been available. ‘We need someone to be injured,’ they said. ‘We need you to have a scan so that we can get the ICC’s approval.’

“Fact four: I was forced and bullied into having a scan. The scan showed I have a bad back. No surprise there. I have had a bad back for years, just like others have had bad shoulders and bad knees. Like all sportsmen, I have learned to deal with the limitations and the pain. In fact, my back is better than it has been in a while. I think I am in the best form possible for this tournament.”

But, Netherlands managerĀ Ed van Nierop responded by saying that MRI scans showed that Gruijters had been struggling with a lower back injury since the start of the month.

“There were doubts about his mobility from early March,” Nierop said. “I was present at the MRI scan and even the medical staff said that he was in really bad pain. There were clear, visible issues in his lower back. And we will be playing three matches in five days.

“Our new High Performance Manager, Roland Lefebvre, said this boy cannot move and we should monitor it. He has been monitored ever since we set foot on Emirates soil [earlier this month for training]. The medical staff said we should have him tested. The MRI at Chittagong Hospital was done by independent doctors and we went by their advice. We have followed all due procedures.

“You have to understand that in Netherlands cricket, we cannot pick 15 super players off the shelf for an event like this. We have a very limited number of players. We could not have replaced him as simply as that. It is just that his injury replacement coincided with the availability of Tom Cooper.”

The Netherlands cricket board (KNCB) noted that they will be investigating the incident.

“The account of Tim Gruijters himself regarding the course of events differs from the account of the team management in Bangladesh,” the board said via a statement. “Those present there are coach Anton Roux, KNCB technical director Roland Lefebvre, physiotherapist Jan Stappenbelt and team manager Ed van Nierop.

“The KNCB board has as a result of the current controversy initiated an investigation and shall take evidence from all the relevant parties in order to gain understanding of the course of events.”

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