Perhaps one runs the risk of sounding a tad bit philosophical by merely saying that not all cricket games are contested with the idea of winning a cricket match, technically speaking, at the end of the day.
Even as that might be the very purpose- and is the purpose almost always- not every match has to necessarily define the winner basis wickets taken, runs scored or the margins that distinguish two teams, hailing ultimately one as the superior over the other.
Quite frankly, that’s because some battles are fought for a larger cause. And while they are held on the 22 yards, the difference they bring goes beyond the yards of the field and concern the playground called life.
For it’s life that eventually matters, does it not?
And yet, it’s also life where the worst happens too, much like those good and memorable days.
Though, what could be better than using cricket as a bridge to cater to a life-changing cause. Now, what if that cause was focused toward addressing the great nadir of our times, Cancer?
We remember the Tsunami Relief match of 2004, don’t we?
Recently, another contest, similar in intent, though meant for a different cause altogether was held last month in Europe, on August 21, to be precise.
It was a cricket game that addressed a Tsunami of a medical anomaly called cancer.
Truthfully speaking, there could not have been a better way to mark the beginnings of the Cricket Fights Cancer Charity, the heart-and-soul project of noted former Dutch cricket Morten Kriek, than by holding an exhibition white-ball game.
Not a “play-just-for-fun” or “take-it-easy” game, a proper cricketing contest that featured some of the most popular and revered names of the game from Europe, and in particular, from The Netherlands, the Morten Kriek Invitational XI ruled the roost in a fine battle against no lame pushovers: the Netherlands All Star XI.
From their allotted twenty overs, the All-Star Netherlands XI made 163 for 5, as Lefebvere, 41 and Van Noortwijk top scored with 40, respectively.
In the end, Morten Kriek’s side chased down the target guided by a strong and unbeaten knock by Rendier Lubbers, starring with an excellent all-round effort.
But several performances stood out on both sides in an event that may never have taken place had an exceedingly bright and tireless former cricketer, Morten Kriek, not taken upon himself the task of organizing this great game of cricket.
It’s end beneficiaries besides the fans being those who are fighting the disease.
They should know they can conquer anything.
Morten Kriek, a lover of all things cricket, a convertor of words into actions, a loving father, a devoted husband, an intrepid cricket lover, is the man for all the right reasons and causes.
Kriek suffers from two rear forms of cancer and despite that, let that sink in, he’s all cricket, head-to-toe, heart-to-mind.
Between Chemotherapy sessions and family time and after spending time in recovering from the exhaustion that the intense medical treatment leaves him to deal with- there’s cricket and more cricket on his mind.
The man is not a talker; rather a doer.
And a few days ago, given his mental frame of mind and his frail physical condition, he could so easily have decided to just think of himself as being a patient, sitting back and hence just getting frustrated- he realised a long-cherished dream of his, that of making a case for raising awareness about the emperor of all maladies.
Just how did the mild-mannered, always polite, true gent do it?
But assembling some of the most famous and talented former Dutch cricketers and other talents from Europe for a charity cricket match whose core idea was to raise awareness about a condition that perhaps few others, besides Morten Kriek himself can better understand.
What one saw in the contest was a confluence of talent and experience, and eventually an enthrallingly-held saga where the real winner, even as the team-wise, it was Morten Kriek’s invitational XI, in the larger context of things, was cricket.
That being said, what performances stood out from the Morten Kriek XI versus All Star Netherlands XI stood out?
Sandra Kottman. Former International, former club mate of Morten Kriek (Rood & Wit Haarlem) and at 54-years, still playing Premier league women’s cricket.
She took her 350th wicket at the highest-level this season.
Sandra won it for a very accurate and economical bowling display in a high scoring match.
Klaas Jan van Noortwijk. Former international. Highest individual score at 1996 World cup for Holland (64) and highest individual score at 2003 world cup (134), which is still the highest for a Dutch player in World Cups. Klaas Jan scored 41 runs, with 6 beautiful boundaries as if it was still 2003.
MVP (Most Valuable Player)
Reinder Lubbers is the son of former Dutch captain, Steven Lubbers. Reinder also represented The Netherlands at the Olympics in Rowing. He took a catch, bowled well and saw Morten Kriek Invitational XI home with a powerful unbeaten 46.
He was adjudged the MVP not only for his match performance, but also for his off-the-field performance, in that he helped Morten Kriek in the organising period of the match with planning. Someone who stood like a rock during Kriek’s chemotherapy.
Besides this, together with his brother Victor and his father, Mr. Steven, Reinder Lubbers came to Amsterdam to practice with Morten Kriek as part of his recovery process.
A very good man rewarded for his selflessness and commitment on the cricket field.
Here’s one of the stand out performances from the contest.
Honestly, if you haven’t heard about Walter Prescod, then probably you haven’t known one of the most exemplary examples of commitment and passion for the game.
Walter Prescod is a 74-year-old Barbadian who not just participated in the Morten Kriek Inviational XI vs Netherlands All-Star XI, but bowled 2 overs for 11 runs, and was the only player in the match to not concede a boundary.
It’s not just the element of his age or passion for the game that’s astounding, but the fact that his bowling figures would coax the most miserly of all spinners, who hate conceding a boundary to stand up and take notice.
What an effort.
Sandra Kottman took the wicket of Diederik Parlevliet. Interestingly, they both play at the same club and Diederik came fresh of a 69 in the Saturday league.
Meanwhile, Eelco Kummer took 2 for 30.
One reckons, it’s not bad for a part-time spinner, eh?
He claimed the wickets of Klaas Jan van Noortwijk en Jeroen Smits and almost managed in taking a third, which was when he couldn’t hold on to a return catch from Roland Lefebvre.
It would surely have been a screamer if he’d have held on to that one. Nonetheless, great effort.
Also, Eelco had a lot of family at the game, 10 came from the Kummer family, something that was beautiful and inspiring.
The pictures capturing the entertaining contest were all taken by Remco van Oosterom.
Cricket Fights Cancer Foundation image link for photos
You can watch the entire cricket match here as also on Youtube!