2007 Review - Netherlands December 23, 2007

A year of stagnation

Andrew McGlashan looks at how Netherlands fared in 2007
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Tim de Leede pulls off a stunning return catch in the World Cup match against Scotland. Netherlands won the game by eight wickets © Getty Images
Despite their third World Cup appearance, Netherlands failed to develop to any worthwhile extent at all levels. There were changes, albeit cosmetic, in key positions with captain Luke van Troost retiring and coach Peter Cantrell stepping down following the World Cup. Being a rare patch of reasonable cricket in Europe, Netherlands continued to struggle in a football-dominated environment.

Cantrell's resignation, citing his inability to commit all the time required, was symptomatic of problems affecting all Associates. Paul-Jan Bakker, the former Netherlands and Hampshire medium-pacer who now lives in Switzerland, was named as his successor and faces a tough job.

The biggest headline was made by Daan van Bunge, the legspinner, who was dispatched for six sixes during the World Cup. As van Troost, the captain said afterwards, "before the game we said let's make history today, well, we made history!" van Bunge later retired, at just 24, another player unable to commit a professional level of time when he had to considered life outside the game. He was a former MCC Young Cricketer, but talent alone isn't enough.

Their 15 ODIs brought seven victories, including success against Scotland at the World Cup which decided last place in the group. They faced a similar problem to Ireland and Scotland when trying to field their strongest teams during the English season. Ryan ten Doeschate, their star allrounder, was regularly needed for Essex duty and left a huge hole in the team. Alex Kervezee, the top order batsman, was carving out a carry with Worcestershire although was released more often

Domestically the picture wasn't very rosy. Participation levels didn't increase as the core group of players, supporters and fans tried to keep the game alive. Even getting onto the field is proving a problem with some clubs losing their pitches. If there is any chance of Netherlands make significant strides, the game has to be safeguarded at home first.

New man on the block
At 18, Alex Kervezee has the world at his feet after already securing a county deal and impressing with his skill and temperament. So far he has managed to maintain his international appearances, but if his development continues at the current rate Worcestershire will want his services on a more regular basis.

Fading star
Tim de Leede had been part of the Netherlands side for more than a decade when he finally called it quits following the World Cup. He ended with a respectable 29 wickets in 29 ODIs and managed the notable scalps of Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist during his penultimate match.

High point
Victory over Scotland in St Kitts was, in effect, Netherlands' World Cup. The Scots were skittled for 136 then ten Doeschate showed his class with a 68-ball 70 as Netherlands won with more than half their overs remaining.

Low point
Missing out the ICC World Twenty20 cost Netherlands the chance of a sizeable pay-day and the opportunity to put their game on the big stage for the second time in a year. They failed to win the key matches during the World Cricket League, which acted as the qualifying event, and ended up a distant third to Kenya and Scotland.

What does 2008 hold?
A tough year of trying to keep the game alive with limited overseas exposure. They don't hold the advantage of receiving the tour teams which head to England, unless sides make a detour on their way home as Sri Lanka did a couple of years ago. There are ODIs against fellow Associates on the cards, but without a major injection of cash they are destined to remain on the fringes.

Netherlands in 2007
Matches Won Lost Drawn/NR
ODIs 14 7 6 1
Twenty20 - - - -
Intercontinental Cup 3 2 1 0

Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer at Cricinfo