Netherlands captain Peter Borren hopes playing in the World Cup will have long-term benefits for Dutch cricket in a country where football and hockey are king.
“We’ve had a bit more exposure than cricket normally gets in Holland,” said Borren.
“On Sunday we had a segment on television, a 45-minute programme on cricket, which doesn’t happen normally.
“With football and hockey the dominant sports back home, us coming here and doing well at a massive event on the world stage, we’re hoping that can attract a few more Dutch people to cricket and help develop the sport.
“We’ve got a role to play in that. Our participation in this tournament can hopefully have quite an effect on cricket in Holland in general.”
Cricket, whose major nations were once all part of the British Empire, has been played in the Netherlands since the 19th century and Borren said: “Cricket has been in Holland for a long time. I think we’re developing slowly.
“I think we’ve got a lot of work to do, trying to get young guys, boys and girls playing cricket is always a challenge when we’re competing with other sports.
“I guess there has to be a real drive to get into schools, just so people are aware of the game.
“We don’t get a lot of coverage on television, which is difficult and the awareness of the game itself is not as strong as I think it should be.”
Four World Cups
Back in 1964, the Dutch beat Australia and two years ago they stunned hosts England at Lord’s in the opening match of the 2009 World Twenty20.
“The Dutch team has now played at four World Cups and a Twenty20 World Cup and have had experience at the top level and have had our days,” Borren said.
Previous associate nations such as Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe have gone on to play five-day Test cricket, considered to be the summit of the sport.
But with the International Cricket Council (ICC) planning to reduce the one-day, 50 overs per side, World Cup to 10 teams from 14 at the 2015 edition, Borren conceded Tests are a long way off the Dutch horizon.
“I don’t see it happening in the near future in Holland,” he said.
“There’s a lot of steps to go before that is even thought about. At this stage, we lack the infrastructure and the playing numbers so it’s not going to happen in the near future.
“I would like to think it’s going to happen, with development, awareness and the other things I’ve talked about. One day, it would be a fantastic thing to have the Netherlands playing Test cricket.” — Sapa-AFP
England take on the Netherlands today at 11am.