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Last updated: Monday, 6 January, 2003, 18:11 GMT

Zuiderent leads orange charge
Zuiderent in action for Sussex
Zuiderent has been trying to make his mark at Sussex
Rated as the most talented batsman to come out of the Netherlands, Bas Zuiderent knew from an early age he wanted to represent his country on the world stage.

He recalls as a young teenager hearing of the Netherlands' qualification for the World Cup on the car radio and deciding he wanted to get involved.

Not for the first time, Zuiderent set himself a goal and went on to achieve it.

"My coach at the time was [former New Zealand coach] David Trist, and he pushed me very hard," he said.

"Eventually I made it into the Holland team for the World Cup as the seventh batsman and a very good fielder.

"I even scored a few runs and got a lot of exposure because of my age. But everything was a blur to me.

"It only started to sink in a year or so later that I was only 18/19 and playing with some of the best players in the world."

The innings that earned Zuiderent his reputation as a wonderful prospect was 54 made against England in Peshawar, when he became the second youngest cricketer - after Sachin Tendulkar no less - to score a World Cup fifty.

But there was more to come.

Sussex swoop in

"I suppose I only really became noticed properly here when I scored 99 (run out) against Worcestershire the following year, playing for Holland in the NatWest Trophy.

Worcestershire were so impressed, they approached Zuiderent straight away, but the Dutchman returned to his home country to study economics at university.

However, resistance was to prove temporary and two years later, he decided to try to make it as a professional cricketer.

Worcestershire immediately rekindled their interest, but Zuiderent, now 22, was swayed by Sussex.

As a European Union national, he was free to join a county as a non-overseas player.

"I approached Dave Gilbert (the Sussex chief executive)," Zuiderent said. "He had once seen me play during an Australia A tour to Amsterdam that he had coached.

"He came up to me afterwards and gave me his card saying that if ever I was interested in playing abroad I should give him a ring. I've still got that card.

"I was signed by Sussex in 1999."

Like all new recruits, Zuiderent was made to earn his place in the side but was given extended chances to prove himself as time went on.

He was finally able to call himself a fully-fledged professional cricketer when, in 2001, he scored his maiden one-day and championship centuries for Sussex.

Although last summer proved less fruitful for the talented batsman, with limited appearances in the first team, Zuiderent will no doubt be one of the players to watch.

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