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Netherlands go from WT20 bliss back to limbo

Firdose Moonda

April 1, 2014

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Netherlands are elated with the run-out of Tim Bresnan, England v Netherlands, World T20, Group 1, Chittagong, March 31, 2014
'We might not have much cricket on the radar and we may have to go and find a job' © Getty Images
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The Dutch delight has dissipated. Peter Borren and his men have returned home to an uncertain cricketing landscape and they are not the only ones unsure of what comes next. The game's administrators will only decide on the structure for qualifying for the 2019 World Cup, and by implication the furture of the World Cricket League (WCL) Championship, at either the ICC's April or June meetings - that means at least another few months in limbo.

The WCL, which was played alongside the first-class Intercontinental Cup, featured the top eight Associate and Affiliate teams and provided the pathway to playing with the big boys. The teams that finished in the top two of the seven-round 50-overs competition automatically qualified for next year's World Cup. The others were given a second opportunity at a qualifier tournament in New Zealand in January, which filled the final two places at the World Cup.

Netherlands are not among the four non-Full Member teams that will play at the 2015 event, and for them that has wider implications than simply missing out on a major tournament. January's qualifier tournament also decided which teams were awarded ODI status for the next four years. The four teams who played in the semi-finals were given that honour. None of Netherlands, Canada or Kenya were among them. As a result, they relinquished their ODI status to UAE, Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea, who were all in the semis.

As a result none of Netherlands, Canada or Kenya will receive the US$1 million provided to the countries who participate in the World Cup. That money comes from the ICC's High Performance Programme which, for the next nine months, will be focused on the World Cup and providing support to the countries that will compete there. "It's a pretty competitive process [to decide who gets that money]," Tim Anderson, the ICC's global development manager, told ESPNcricinfo. "And it's not to say that money is now gone, it is being received somewhere else."

Netherlands, Canada and Kenya will still receive funding from the ICC, like other Associates and Affiliates, but losing out on US$1 million is a major financial setback for them and they know it. "We shot ourselves in the foot in New Zealand. We're not really sure what the ICC are going to decide," Peter Borren said during the Dutch campaign at the World T20.

The ICC's decision can only be made by the board, who will meet to iron out the details of their revamp over the next three months. It may mean that Netherlands have to wait until qualification for the 2019 World Cup starts to try and regain their place among the top six Associates. But the ICC board could also decide on something completely different and one of the ideas being mooted is to play more bilateral series among the Associates and decide the World Cup places through a rankings system.

By the time that comes around, Netherlands will hope not to have lost too many players to full-time employment elsewhere. Currently, the board contracts players but Borren feared that could change because of a lack of funds. "We might not have much cricket on the radar and we may have to go and find a job," he said.

What Netherlands have for now is a sponsor in ABN-AMRO - a bank - and a new tournament to look forward to, albeit a franchise one; on Tuesday, Cricket Scotland and the Dutch board announced a new joint venture: the North Sea Pro Series. The event will feature four franchise teams from the two countries, which will play in a 50-overs and 20-overs tournament between May and June.

It will be financially supported by the ICC's Targeted Assistance Performance Programme and the game's global body is pleased with the initiative shown by the two countries. "We always encourage our members to play among each other whenever they can, so something like this is great for development," Anderson said.

For the two countries, the event will compensate for neither participating in English domestic cricket this summer, as they have done in the past. "With no Scottish or Dutch involvement in English domestic competitions this year, this partnership is an ideal opportunity for us to stand on our own two feet and begin to develop a strong domestic professional competition for our best cricketers," Andy Tennant, Cricket Scotland's performance director, said.

The Dutch also hope it can help prepare their players for bigger challenges. "These matches, together with our own Hurricanes v Seafarers games in-country, will go a long way in bridging the gap between club cricket and the international game," Richard Cox, Netherlands' CEO, said. But in what form they will play the international game is yet to be decided.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (April 2, 2014, 18:53 GMT)

We talk a lot about equity in economic growth and development. But there is serious lack of equity when it comes to sports.. the admin should focus more on making the game widespread. How long should we see the same teams competing among themselves ?

Posted by   on (April 2, 2014, 13:49 GMT)

only 2 nations have home grown player in their ranks,Nepal and Ireland.fair enough dutch have played in super 10,defeted England but they never have same hunger and passion for the game like Nep and Ire.icc should look up to this.

Posted by PanthuMattai on (April 2, 2014, 12:50 GMT)

Why don't the 'Big 3' gives some room to nearest associated country in some way, so that, they can play themselves a bi or tri nation tournament to improve the associated nation standards. It will do world of good to them and increases the sports popularity. And gives immense satisfaction to 'big 3'. Will ICC allow this?

Posted by A.Kessell on (April 2, 2014, 10:34 GMT)

The only way to ensure long term growth of the game in associate countries is to foster their domestic systems and strengthen their domestic leagues. As it is the only way to keep producing quality players over generations and keep local interest. But with the current arrangment of financing the Dutch for example, over the last 5 years, opted to spend their limited resources on keeping their current crop of players at all ages in touch with the Irish, who have been consistantly out preforming them at all ages, just to hold on to their limited financing over the short term. An effort that blew up in NZ. They spend money on improving training facilities and methods, as well as offering central contracts to key players and organising youth tours. After all that there simply is nothing left to grow awareness through targeted national campaigns aimed at promoting the game. Thus leaving them with the problem of being stuck with a pool of players smaller than the averge minor English county.

Posted by Marktc on (April 2, 2014, 9:34 GMT)

Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea have ODI status....Netherlands and Kenya don't...is it just me, or does this make no sense. The ICC needs to take a look at how they will accommodate the ever expanding game. It cannot continue to expect growth, yet shun it at the same time. I like the idea of divisions as they have in football. Ten teams per division with four year cycles. This will ensure teams play more cricket and learn, with a chance to rise to the next division via playoff matches.

Posted by PSandeepMath on (April 2, 2014, 9:20 GMT)

It will be a real shame not to have the Netherlands and other countries such as Ireland and Kenya playing major cricket. The Dutch and Ireland especially showed that they really have it in them to fight it out with the big boys in the T20 world cup. ICC should really look to invest in these countries and bot just on a select couple countries if they want to broaden the reach of cricket. A million bucks to a couple of countries more will not hurt the ICC's deep pockets, but the money will really mean big to these associate players.

Posted by Nervewrecker on (April 2, 2014, 9:19 GMT)

Expand ODI status to 20 teams. Top 10 teams play only each other over 4 years and get to compete in the World cup. Next 10 teams play only each other over 4 years. The 11th ranked team after 4 years gets promoted to the Premier top 10 and the 10th ranked premier team gets relegated. The 19th and 20th ranked teams lose their ODI status and two new members get ODI status. Cricket needs to expand.

Posted by A.Kessell on (April 2, 2014, 9:16 GMT)

There is no way for the top nations to accomadate the associate even more. There is simply no room in the shedule for more (at best marginally profitable) billateral odi series becoming tri-nation series with a regional associate, nor is there more time for pre and post tour warm up matches against them. Just look at the Windies players flying in on the eve of a test as an example. That is why becoming an Olympic sport makes all the more sense, if say every four years all teams have to go through qualifiers to make the top 18 that end up competing at the main event the top teams will not be able to field their main team as it is allready overcommited. This means they will field their A sides in this tournament against associates and small full members who do not have a packed calendar. If you take the A side of the top 6 or 7 nations and the main side of the 11 or12 others in the top 18 you have a very competative field. cont. below

Posted by A.Kessell on (April 2, 2014, 9:15 GMT)

As well as being (from an ICC perspective) discribable as a 2nd tier event that has no real impact on world cricket, thus protecting their zenith of competition; the 7 match ODI series, the event will readily become the premier stage for smaller cricketing nations (like Bangladesh) to claim an international title and a rare chance at Olympic glory. For non cricketing nations like the Netherlands and Canada it is the most sustainable way to broaden their local player base and attract gouverment aid, as it will generate more national media coverage than any of their recent forrays into ICC events against the big boys. To people in cricketing countries who find this idea hard to understand; compare how much time your national TV covers the world cup of a sport like surfing or armwresting (yes they have world cups) to the amount of time you saw those adorable people scrubbing the ice during the curling at Sochi, or the shooting galleries during the London games coming round every few hours

Posted by   on (April 2, 2014, 8:56 GMT)

It is vital for The Netherlands to be able to invest funds in the further development of Dutch cricket. Their T20 World Cup campaign has proven that they are a very competitive side. As for the ICC I do not think it is wise to take away USD 1 million as well as the ODI status based on one off-day against Kenya. It will cause a major setback. Will the 1 mln be spent in a more effective way by Kenya or PNG? I doubt it. One could consider to make the rewards a bit smaller but let them be shared by more countries in order to develop their domestic leagues.

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