Oman v Netherlands, World T20, Group A, Dharamsala March 11, 2016

Devastated Borren pleads for more cricket


An emotional and distraught Peter Borren has made another impassioned plea to the ICC to give the Associates and Affiliates more opportunities to play, which eventually boils down to spending more money on them. His side Netherlands, perhaps had one bad over with the ball and another with the bat in their first match of this World T20, and they are already out of the event after a washout in their second match.

The World Cup, of a format that is considered the most ideal to spread the game to non-traditional outposts, is restricted to 10 teams, which leads to a cruel round of qualifying where only one of four teams goes through. There are no reserve days. This stage of the tournament is almost like a chore that has to be completed. For teams such as Netherlands, they hope they can make these three days the days of their lives, but don't have any room for error.

"It's a pretty emotional dressing room," Borren said. "Guys have put a lot of work into this campaign. It started a year ago or close to that starting with the first part of the qualifier in Ireland and Scotland. We shared that trophy and played some really good cricket. We sit here now after playing three hours of cricket against Bangladesh, where we came up short. It's extremely disappointing. Obviously we can't do anything about the weather.

"There are obviously questions about how much we've had to do to get to this stage as it is. We've won a lot of games and an eight-run loss to Bangladesh and we're gone. It's hard to take."

While Borren hoped there was a reserve day, he did repeat there can be no excuses for losing to Bangladesh after having competed evenly for 35.5 overs. Looking at the future, though, he was desperately disappointed. He had tweeted earlier in the day, imploring the weather to co-operate because the match was 10% of the cricket they were going to play all year. As of now, they are left with one more T20I, two one-day games against Nepal in the World Cricket League and a four-day game against Afghanistan, and that's it for the rest of the year.

"It's obviously not enough cricket, that's fair to say," Borren said. "If we had managed to get through here, it would have been fantastic. But today's rain means that we're in a position where we possibly won't be playing in a world event for how many years [four]. And in this sort of environment, I've been lucky to have played in a few, but it seems like it's becoming less opportunities for Associate teams, which is frustrating. For me, I'm getting older but some of our young guys... it's pretty hard to tell a guy like Paul van Meekeren, for example, who bowls four overs, gets 2 for 17 against Bangladesh, that there might be another opportunity if we get really really good cricket over three-four years time. It's pretty tough."

What do they do to keep this team together and motivated given such few opportunities? "Keeping this unit together, I don't know, time is an interesting thing," Borren said. "We have got an interesting blend of experience and younger guys. We are not playing too much cricket. We move our attention to two days time, to the visit of Nepal and Afghanistan later in the summer. We've worked very hard to get where we are now. I'm very proud of what we've done in the World Cricket League and the I-cup but right now the feeling is absolutely devastated. It's just a cruel, cruel place to be. I guess, I wish we could find those nine runs somewhere from the other night."

What really seems to have hurt Borren is the fact that the ICC has becomes less concerned about Associates. He acknowledged the hard work of some passionate people at the ICC who work hard towards spreading the game, but asked for a more even share of the revenues cricket generates. "The level of Associate cricket has dramatically improved," Borren said, crediting ICC's high performance programme. "The opportunities for games, however, have become far less. Four or five years ago I, we, used to play quite a few games. These days not many with WCL going to a three-year cycle.

"I don't think it is those people who work hard… they do work hard for Associate cricket. But maybe above them there is a sort of malaise towards Associate cricket. To grow further in the game, we always hear it is not commercially viable. We can't afford to do our own bilateral series. It is very difficult for us. We then hear World Cricket League has gone to a three-year cycle because it is not affordable otherwise. To be honest there is money somewhere. There is a lot of money in cricket. Just not really being spent on expanding the game. Although a bit of it is being spent, the revenue should be spread more far out so that we have that opportunity to play more."

Borren had a message for those who feel the Associates don't deserve a healthier share of the revenue because they don't generate it: "I will tell them we don't need that much. We are not looking for millions and millions of dollars. Just a very small percentage of this huge amount. Obviously we are not going to probably be the source of much revenue, we understand that, but if the game wants to grow, then surely the revenue needs to be shared more evenly not just amongst three, eight, ten teams but throughout the Associates and Affiliates as well.

"I can remember William Porterfield saying pretty similar stuff after the 2015 world cup. People keep saying 'fair enough', 'fair enough', but there is no real change. That can be extremely frustrating. Real change would be welcomed in world of cricket. For example I watch Indian TV, going through the channels, highlights of us beating England, so we think, 'Hang on, everyone likes watching that, everyone likes watching new teams do well, you know give us the opportunity."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Michael Longstaff on March 14, 2016, 0:40 GMT

    I agree that more should be done to bring the lesser teams up to the standard of the top teams. This would require the assistance of not only the ICC but the Test standard nations also. Maybe they could conduct tours to these countries involving their second elevens/ A-teams thus exposing their up and comers to different conditions and these countries to more challenging cricket. The more test teams we can get, the better cricket will be.

  •   Pratik Deshpande on March 13, 2016, 18:19 GMT

    @ANSHU.S& BAGHELS.A. I dont completely agree with you. I am living in Netherlands at the present and it is true not many people aware that they have an international team. But where I dont agree is when you say that there is no scope for cricket in this country or other associate nations. The media attention is not on these sports and true they dont have a lot of public backing. But I think a serious attempt can be made to change that. There are many Indians living here in Netherlands. So imagine tomorrow if Indian teams comes to Netherlands for a small bilateral series. What will happen? In my opinion the circus will come to town, i.e, all the attention that the Indian cricket team carries with it will come to Netherlands. Also the Dutch players as you read above are not asking for a million dollar pay. I am not sure it will succeed but I think it is a worth an attempt. The reason we have 8 test teams today is because the game spread from Britain to all these countries.

  • Ruturaj on March 12, 2016, 15:44 GMT

    Anyone remember a full house of 10000 spectators during the Ireland vs England match in 2013? That too on the outskirts of Dublin? In Nepal a big crowd turned up for a game against USA, and even WCL Nepal matches in the UAE are well attended by expat Nepali supporters. No international matches have been held in Afghanistan, but many enthusiastic Afghan fans turn up to watch their matches in the UAE. I don't have information about Scotland but being a part of the UK you expect that Scots have some knowledge of cricket. It is a myth that associate teams have no supporters in their countries. It is probably true for teams like HK, Netherlands, Canada etc. which consist mostly of expats. But teams like Ireland, Afghanistan and Nepal have a loyal fan base in their countries. It is worth investing in creating a pathway for these teams to improve their cricket and attain full membership (maybe PNG too). Afghanistan and Nepal have a large population too and will be economically sustainable.

  •   Sunil Kumar on March 12, 2016, 15:21 GMT

    Associate team should be given more chances or rather should have the opportunity to play with full nation teams quite often. or the number of teams to be increased.

  • Sam on March 12, 2016, 14:37 GMT

    I just checked its not 1/2 but 6 of the players play their cricket in Holland and that doesn't mean that others werent born their they could have just moved abroad.

  • Sam on March 12, 2016, 14:29 GMT

    Actually about 1/2 of the Ned team was born in Holland

  • jayaesh on March 12, 2016, 13:34 GMT

    I fully agree with @ANSHU.S has posted . Well one can only empathize with Peter Borren but nothing much can be done in a real sense , truth be told except Afghanistan and Nepal there is barely much interest for game of cricket in majority of Associate and Affiliate nations , i can bet that 99 % of Dutch people are completely oblivious of this T20 WC or Netherlands Cricket team , barring one or two most of this Netherlands team were not even born or brought up in Netherlands . Unless local populace and media don't take interest in the game not much anyone can do .

  • Jayaesh on March 12, 2016, 11:12 GMT

    Reading the comments below some of the fans have this Utopian and fanciful notion that by having associates in WC you are raising the profile of Cricket in that country and globalizing the game. IMO ICC instead of clamoring for non -existent fans should concentrate on its core audience,that is strengthening cricket in the existing 10 test playing nations .Harsh truth is Cricket is only number one game in the sub continent and may be in Aus along with AFL and NRL but cricket is distant 2nd or 3rd sport in ENG,NZ,SA,WI,Zim, i would much rather have cricket become stronger in these countries then worrying about associates unless they are Afghanistan or Nepal .

  • Jayaesh on March 12, 2016, 11:05 GMT

    Well one can only empathize with Peter Borren but nothing much can be done in a real sense , truth be told except Afghanistan and Nepal there is barely any interest for game of cricket in majority of Associate and Affiliate nations , i can bet that 99 % of Dutch people are completely oblivious of this T20 WC , barring one or two most of this Netherlands team was not even born or brought up in Netherlands. Countries like Netherlands,Ireland are prosperous Eurozone nations and if there local population and media take interest in cricket then they wouldn't depend on ICC in the first place. to be contd

  •   Ashwin Kumar on March 12, 2016, 9:18 GMT

    what abt an associate nations t20 league franchises based on cities of ny,belfast ,netherlands,hk,kabul etc. with to cricketres as coach and mentors eg if sachin becomes a coach or mentor for any teams over millions of fans will follow that team players too will gain experience i also think that making it cumpolsary for any associate nation player to lay in first class and list a tournaments like ranji, v hazare, ryobi,sunfoil etc.

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