‘Onus on us to play good cricket and change minds’

2011-02-25 14:43

New Delhi – A buoyant Netherlands squad hopes the performances of smaller nations at this year’s World Cup could persuade the ICC to change its mind over reducing the number of teams in 2015.

The ruling body is set to switch from 14 to 10 teams at the next World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

But following its strong showing against England, coach Peter Drinnen said today Netherlands will continue to send out “positive messages” in the hope that the ICC will reconsider its decision to limit the number of second-tier teams at the next tournament.

“All we can do is prepare well, try and encourage more full members to plays us, try and develop as a team and play good cricket,” Drinnen said after a training session at an Indian Air Force base ground in New Delhi today.

“If we continue to do that, the messages we send out will be positive ones and the decisions may be considered again. All we can do is endeavour to put up good games of cricket.”

Inspired by a century from Ryan ten Doeschate, Netherlands took England to the wire in a Group B match in Nagpur on Tuesday. But Kenya and Canada have not helped the cause with heavy defeats in the early stages.

Ten Doeschate says it’s crucial that the small teams prove their worth to the World Cup, with Netherlands up against West Indies and then South Africa – his country of birth – next.

“It’s a fine balance maintaining the integrity of the tournament and having dead rubbers up front,” Ten Doeschate told reporters.

“If we can produce the kind of cricket that we produced on Tuesday night and I’m sure Ireland will have a few close games and Kenya and Canada the same, then there’s a case for having us around.

But the onus is on us to play some good cricket and change some minds.”

For the Dutch it’s a rare treat, and a welcome challenge, to play the sport’s top teams.

Before the England match, Netherlands’ limited experience against top teams was just two ODIs vs. West Indies in the last three years.

“We don’t get the opportunity very often (to play top teams),” said captain Peter Borren.

“We work hard throughout the year and it’s nice to get the opportunity to test ourselves against the top teams. It would be nice to get more chances to do that.”

At Services Cricket Ground today, the Dutch players – most of whom are not professionals – were treated like superstars by a small group of cricket-mad Indian fans.

They were asked for autographs and posed for photographs, and allrounder Bas Zuiderent said the team’s performance against England had even got them on TV and in newspaper reports back home, where cricket is not well-followed.

“It’s major for us,” he said.

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