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Netherlands cricket has received a major boost after securing a four-year sponsorship deal with the major Dutch bank ABN AMBRO. It will allow them to pump more money into central contracts as they build towards the 2015 World Cup.
As with other Associate nations, Netherlands' players have to balance their cricket careers with full-time jobs to ensure they can make a living. Some of their leading stars, like Ryan ten Doeschate and Alexei Kervezee, play county cricket - where Netherlands compete in the CB40 competition - while Tom Cooper has reached as far as the Australia A setup. Currently three players have contracts with the Netherlands board but they now expect that to increase.
"We are delighted to be able to secure this deal, which also provides us with a two-fold opportunity," Richard Cox, the Netherlands chief-executive, said. "Firstly we will be able to offer considerably more full-time playing contracts to our players and effectively turn professional for the foreseeable four years and beyond. Secondly we will be able to offer a career-path for our best young cricketers from our development programmes in to the national team. This is a sea-change for the future of Dutch cricket and is the fruit of many months of work by team manager Ed van Nierop and the KNCB."
Netherlands took part in last year's World Cup but did not manage to win any of their group matches, although they gave England a tough outing when ten Doeschate struck 119 in Nagpur. In March they will be one of 16 teams taking part in the World Twenty20 qualifiers in Dubai, from which two sides will qualify for the main event in Sri Lanka. Their attention will then turn to preparing for the next World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, in 2015.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.