Dutch unveil ambitious 2021 international cricket programme

Netherlands WCLC Champions
The Dutch celebrate winning the World Cricket League Championship

Unfazed by the pandemic which continues to afflict Europe, the KNCB has announced the Dutch international cricket programme for 2021, covering the boys’ and girls’ youth squads as well as the senior men’s and women’s teams.

The high points of the latter are naturally the men’s World T20 tournament in India, for which the Netherlands qualified when it was still going to be held in Australia last year and which is now scheduled for 18 October-15 November, and the women’s World Cup qualifier, to be held in Sri Lanka from 22 June to 10 July.

The men, of course, also have Super League commitments, with Ireland scheduled to play three ODIs at Kampong’s Maarschalkerweerd ground in Utrecht between 2 and 7 June, and series against South Africa and Zimbabwe in November-December, while the women have a European regional qualifier for the 2023 World T20 Cup, to be held in Scotland on 24-31 August.

Netherlands will appear in the Big Dance, scheduled to take place later this year in India (Photo: ICC)

There is also a visit to Scotland for the Dutch Under-19 side, who have a World Cup qualifier there between 28 July and 6 August.

These plans were already known, but the schedule released this week adds a good deal more: for the men, two ODIs at home to Scotland on 19 and 21 May, an A team tour to Ireland from 10 to 15 May, and a possible series for the A side against Italy in July.

The latter fixtures are encouraging for those who have long argued that a more ambitious and systematic programme for the A squad was essential if the KNCB’s aim of creating a national side with more home-grown players was to have any chance of success.

The Bond is also aiming to give its teams every chance of performing well, with training camps planned for the men in Spain in April and provisionally for the women’s and U19 squads as well, at venues yet to be announced.

There is also hope that it may be possible to organise a full range of youth tours for the national Lions and Lionesses squads, after last year’s programme was abandoned because of the pandemic.

The announcements include a tri-series with Scotland and Ireland for the U17 Lionesses in August and cricket festivals in England for the U15 and U13 squads, while the U16 Lions will travel to Denmark in mid-July and then entertain North Essex, and the U14 and U12 squads will, like their female counterparts, take part in English festivals.

The Dutch youth training squads, announced late last year, will have a busy summer if COVID-19 does not get in the way

How much of this exciting Dutch international cricket programme actually happens will obviously be dependent on the conditions prevailing in the summer and the government regulations which are in place by then, but the KNCB’s high performance staff have rightly been keen to set up schedules which assume something close to normality.

And with national men’s coach Ryan Campbell’s contract recently extended until September 2022 and new women’s coach Shane Deitz joining the team, the Dutch national set-up has never been as well placed to make an impact, as well as ensuring a flow of locally-produced players capable of succeeding on the international stage.

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