Dutch cricket players furious about World Cup ‘closed club’
The cricket World Cup is one of the most watched sports event in the world but smaller cricketing nations such as the Netherlands are on the verge of being excluded.
The Netherlands was part of the last three cricket World Cups but cricket’s ruling body the ICC has agreed to reduce the number of participating countries from 14 to 10.
"This is extremely sad," says Roland Lefebvre, who is the national team’s technical director. "There has been a coup within the ICC over the past year and the top three cricketing nations have taken over."
The decision, he says, has "far reaching consequences for international cricket at a lower level". National coach Anton Roux is also furious. "It feels unfair. This means the World Cup is being turned into a closed club and we have no control over it."
Dutch players says the policy shift is a sad development. "Taking part in the World Cup is something to be proud of," says Pieter Seelaar. "You are representing your country at the highest level. But it will be a one-off experience for me now."
Despite the protests from smaller nations, ICC chief Dave Richardson said earlier this week there is unlikely to be a change before the 2019 event. "The decision has been made, as we stand it’s a 10-team tournament at the next World Cup," Richardson said. "We’ve also got the Cricket World Cup qualifier, which has been upgraded and been granted a higher status. Any decision to change the number of teams which qualify will have a knock-on effect for that qualifying tournament."
The final of the 2015 event takes place in Melbourne on Sunday between Australia and New Zealand.