Though the Netherlands are on the verge of playing their biggest T20I match when they will take the field against India in Super 12 match of Men’s T20 World Cup at Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday, their captain Scott Edwards expressed disappointment over the scrapping of the ODI Super League, which currently determines the automatic qualification status for next year’s World Cup.
Netherlands had won the final edition of the World Cricket League Championship in 2017 to be the 13th participant of the ODI Super League. It meant that the Netherlands got 24 ODIs to play against Full Member countries over the course of the competition. It meant Netherlands got much-needed exposure to play against Ireland, Afghanistan, England, West Indies, New Zealand and Pakistan, though they got just two wins till now against the Irish.
But with the League set to be scrapped after next year’s ODI World Cup against India is over, it means that Netherlands will have to wait for getting that much consistent amount of matches against Full Member nations.
“Yes, obviously disappointing that the ODI Super League is not going ahead. It was a great experience for all of our players. Obviously going forward there’s obviously more teams going to the World Cups in the future, which is great.”
“But you’ve got to qualify for those events, which is always tough. It’s a bit disappointing, but we’re here now and we get to play another four, five, however many games, in the World Cup, which we’re looking forward to,” said Edwards in the pre-match press conference.
Asked about the benefit which ODI Super League gave to Netherlands, Edwards pointed towards the youngsters coming into the side and knowing more about their depth of players. “That’s probably where the Super League was so good. We didn’t have a lot of our county guys around that period, which made it hard to win games. But it gave a lot of our younger guys an opportunity, which I think a lot of them showed they were capable of performing and coming up against these bigger, better players.”
In the current Netherlands squad for the T20 World Cup, there are three South Asian players like opener Vikramjit Singh, leg-spinner Shariz Ahmed and off-spin all-rounder Teja Nidamanuru. Edwards pointed out that apart from this, they got the chance to perform when the matches were broadcasted back home and contribute to growth of the sport in the country.
“I think again, going back to the ODI Super League, it was great. Opportunity for us to perform on I think it’s actually the first time we’ve played on Dutch national television. So that combined with bringing across all these bigger nations, the crowds we’re getting in are a lot bigger than we’ve ever had before.”
“It’s definitely growing. But in Europe, it’s obviously a small sport. The better we do in these tournaments, the more popular and the more exposure the sport gets. Hopefully we can cause a couple of upsets, and there’s even more exposure there.”
Asked about the learnings which Netherlands will take from ODI Super League matches in preparation for their match against a formidable Indian side on Thursday, Edwards remarked, “Coming up against these guys, it’s a little bit of an unknown, if you only play the bigger nations sort of once every few years. The fact that we got to play sort of 12 to 15 games in the last nine months gives us a lot of confidence.”
“Even for individuals, you look at guys that have performed against these teams. It gives you that sort of acknowledgment that you can perform on a big stage against these bigger teams. We take a lot of confidence from that.”
Edwards signed off by hoping he and the Netherlands team would get a chance to interact with the Indian team after the match ends. “It would be great, these guys are obviously the best in the world. So any chance you get to learn from these sort of players is awesome. We saw that at the last World Cup. They’re generally pretty generous with their time.”