Test Match Sofa
Dutch playing for their future in English cricket
By Paul Bolton
Holland are hoping to persuade counties to support their continued involvement in the Clydesdale Bank 40 competition by making life comfortable for them off the pitch but difficult on it.
The structure of county cricket is under review and Holland’s future participation in the English one-day competition is in doubt as consideration is again given to reducing the amount of cricket played.
Removing Holland, Scotland the Unicorns from the CB40 is one option to free up more space in a congested calendar but Richard Cox, chief executive of the Netherlands Cricket Board, hopes to persuade the ECB to retain links with Dutch cricket.
Having beaten five county sides in last season’s CB40, Cox hopes for at least as many giantkilling acts this year and Holland have started well with consecutive wins against Gloucestershire and Worcestershire over the Bank Holiday weekend.
“The bottom line for us is to create a certain amount of pressure on the decision by winning games,” said Cox. “We won five last year and we have set out to better that this year. We also want to make sure that when teams come to the Netherlands we provide an attractive day out for players and spectators alike.”
Although Holland have a busy programme of international cricket, much of it against ICC Associates like themselves, Cox believes that regular visits by county sides are essential to growing cricket across the North Sea.
“I can’t start to quantify how important the CB40 is to us,” he said. “In terms of generating interest in the game and growing the game in the Netherlands, these games are the most important that we play.
“It’s not just for the players, the spectators or sponsors but for the Dutch non-cricketing community who associate cricket with English clubs. They see this competition as a real asset and beating county sides helps to raise the profile of cricket in the Netherlands.”
Holland’s CB40 match against Gloucestershire at Amstelveen on July 27 will also be televised by Sky Sports, the first time a match in Holland has been screened live in England, which should also help to raise the profile of Dutch cricket.
Cox, a former director of cricket at the Warwickshire Cricket Board, has also helped secure some lucrative sponsorship deals which have helped Holland to centrally contract their players either on full-time or incremental contracts, allowing them more time to play and prepare for matches.
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