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Controversy hits WT20: 'Ousted' Dutch player accuses team of cheating

Netherlands batsman Tim Gruijters claims his country's cricket board and coaching staff 'basically cheated' by replacing him in the World Twenty20 squad with Australian-born player Tom Cooper.

Australian born all-rounder Tom Cooper's late inclusion in the Netherlands cricket squad for the ICC World Twenty20 has sparked a controversy after the man he replaced -- Tim Gruijters -- accusing the Dutch cricket board and coaching staff of deliberately getting rid of him.

Gruijters has been suffering with a persistent back injury but claims the problem would not have prevented him from playing the Netherlands' opening game against the United Arab Emirates in Sylhet on Monday.

Tim Gruijters
Tim Gruijters

"It is a fact that I would never have been forced to go for a scan had Tom Cooper not been available," he said in a Youtube video.

"It's clear that the Dutch coaching staff decided to misuse the rules, hoodwink the ICC, and get Tom Cooper in for me. It's a disgrace, it's a cheat, and I would like to state that I do not want to be part of it," he said.

Cooper, whose mother is from the Netherlands, became available for the World T20 when his team South Australia failed to qualify for the Sheffield Shield final after the last stage of round-robin games ended on Friday.

"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," Gruijters said in the video. "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 have been in the first eleven 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."

The 22-year-old, who has played five one-day internationals and eight T20s for Netherlands, said he was bullied into having a scan on a long-standing back-injury.

"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," he added.

"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."

The KNCB said Gruijters' version of events differed from that of the team management's.

"The Board... regrets the controversy which has arisen following the departure of Tim Gruijters from the Dutch squad at the World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh," it said in a statement on its website.

"The account of Tim Gruijters himself regarding the course of events differs from the account of the team management in Bangladesh."

"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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