Netherlands accept ECB 40-over invite

The Netherlands board (KNCB) has confirmed that it will be entering the ECB's new 40-over competition, sparing the England board more embarrassment after Ireland yesterday turned down the invitation.

"We're greatly looking forward to profiling Dutch cricket in this challenging competition,' Jan Zwart, the KNCB's interim chief executive, said. "We welcome the opportunity it gives to renew our bond with English cricket."

The Irish declined to take part citing player workloads and the desire to concentrate on the 50-over game. The KNCB had no such reservations, although after much-publicised unhappiness when it was shut out of the English game it would have been bizarre had it not accepted.

There are two big problems now facing the board. One is the cost of participating in the tournament, which some estimate could run into a seven-figure sum. The ECB is happy to invite the Netherlands to the party, but it won't pay for the privilege. However, the increased exposure should make it easier to attract a sponsor.

The second is the workload of the players, With 12 games in the competition as well as their existing international commitments, there will be a bigger demand on as limited number of cricketers. As Ireland have already found out, not all are prepared to give up as much time as is required and it remains to be seen how many may decide to make themselves unavailable.