Netherlands have established themselves as a capable limited-overs outfit and despite their success in the ICC World Twenty20, where they beat hosts England in a thrilling opener, support from their government has been minimal. Their captain Peter Borren, who leads a 14-man squad in India for a practice tour, has said there no dearth of cricketing talent in the country but aid and resources have been hard to come by.
"We hardly get any aid or support from the government as everyone there is concerned only about hockey and football," Borren was quoted as saying in the Times of India. "It is tough to compete with the popularity of these sports but still we are hopeful. The only support that we get is from the ICC."
Netherlands, who finished third in the World Cup Qualifiers, are now in preparation mode for the tournament to be held in the subcontinent in 2011. Netherlands made their first appearance in international cricket in the 1996 World Cup, and the event in 2011 will be their fourth. They have won 18 out of 45 ODIs, and are yet to beat a Test-playing nation in the format.
"We have already qualified for the 2011 World Cup and now we are focusing on qualifying for the Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies next year," Borren said. "Development of cricket is very slow in the Netherlands, but still our present team is consistently performing well. In the recent past, we have beaten many leading teams like England in their home [at Lords in the World Twenty20]. We are very optimistic of roping young talent in cricket."
Though government support has been inadequate, the league and club setup in Netherlands, bowling coach Asim Khan said, was helping produce good players. "We have around 7,000 professional cricketers in the Netherlands. The figure is very low when compared to hockey and football, but the signs are positive," Khan said.
Khan played first-class cricket in Pakistan before emigrating to Netherlands, whom he represented in the 1996 World Cup. "The India tour will help our players get used to sub-continental conditions that would benefit us in the 2011 World Cup," he said.
Netherlands' head coach, Peter Drinnen, added: "We only lack in exposure and gradually our players are getting that. We are sure to give a tough fight in international cricket in the coming months."