Netherlands head coach Ryan Campbell has lambasted the ICC’s decision to scrap the World Cup Super League. The 49-year-old feels that the cricket governing body has once again left all the Associate countries in dire straits, and said there is no point calling cricket a world sport if the Associate teams don't get enough opportunities to prove themselves against the top-ranked sides.
The 2020-23 World Cup Super League, which serves as a qualification pathway for the 2023 World Cup, is set to be scrapped after just one edition. Netherlands won the final edition of the World Cricket League Championship in 2017 and qualified as the 13th participant in the ongoing league. They even got their campaign off to a winning start, defeating Ireland 2-1 at home and currently in South Africa for a three-match ODI series, starting on Friday (November 26).
Now that the Super League will be dumped, the top-10 ranked teams will directly qualify for the 2027 World Cup, while four more sides will be added after a global qualifier.
"The Super League was always meant to give that 13th team, an Associate, an opportunity to play the best teams in the world. It was the first time in the history of Dutch cricket that cricket was shown live on Dutch television. The scrapping of the Super League was disappointing for all Associate countries but that's the decision that's been made," said Campbell, as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
"Every Associate country is wondering what next? How do we play? Where do we get our fixtures? Is the World Cricket League Two going to stay in place? How do you get into a ranking league and compete for a spot in the 2027 World Cup? There's lots of answers we need to find and I think that is only going to be in time."
Campbell said the bigger countries will have to step in if they want this sport to grow. "I was lucky enough to be involved in the greatest team for Australian cricket and while I was there, I had no thought of what goes on in Associate cricket. I had no idea. I was drafted to go to Hong Kong and that was my first hard look at Associate cricket and the rigours you've got to go through, mostly unpaid. It really gets under my skin that the top cricket teams in the world - and I am trying not to be political here - but the facts are that we should be leaving this game in a better state for future generations.
"We can come out and say we want to be the most participated sport in the world and go on and 'blah blah blah' but if you're not giving opportunities to the best Associate teams or teams lower down the scale to improve and go up against the big ten, it's very frustrating. If you follow the game, teams ranked 11, 12, 13 are very close to teams 14, 15 and 16.
"I just get the feeling that sometimes individual countries forget that it's supposed to be a world game. I think it was Donald Bradman who said we are supposed to leave the game in a better position when we go and I would ask that question of all the big teams: are they doing that or are they just worried about their own backyards and interests?
"When you look at the last division of (ICC) money that was split up, England and India and Australia wanted more and that came out of the Associate pool and then within weeks, they were announcing billion dollar new TV rights deals which is pretty frustrating. At the end of the day, it's the world game and hopefully some of these bigger countries understand that if we want to grow the world game, the growth isn't going to come from the big countries, it's going to come from all the ones underneath them and they need to get in and help."
The Dutch recently failed to qualify for the Super 12s stage of the 2021 T20 World Cup but Campbell wants his team to look forward and try to finish 10th in the Super League. “We had a disappointing World Cup but three bad games of cricket shouldn't define this group.
"Our short term goal is to finish 10th in the Super League. That's always been our goal. That sounds a bit brash but this group of players will always set out to not just survive but show what we are all about. We've got a lot of good professionals playing in the county system but also back home. It's really important for us that we go out there and to inspire the next generation of Dutch cricketers but also to show the world that we can compete against the best teams in the world."
Meanwhile, South Africa's stand-in white-ball captain Keshav Maharaj said he wants to play against as many different opponents as possible. "It's really important. The more we play, the better we get and the more we gel as a unit. From a tactical point of view, we can try various combinations, see what works, see who fits in. I would love to play more against any nation, whether deemed as a smaller nation or a bigger nation. Cricket is really important and match time and game time is really important," said the left-arm spinner.
Ryan ten Doeschate, who recently retired from all forms of cricket after the T20 World Cup, too has travelled with Netherlands to South Africa as a mentor and Campbell wants him to be the head coach of the national side in future.
"Tendo left Dutch cricket in 2011, and said it wasn't professional enough, that he had had enough and it was sort of a one-man show. When I took over the job in 2017, my No. 1 goal was to prove to Ryan ten Doeschate that we had changed and we were a professional outfit and a really good cricket team and, most importantly, it would be something he would want to get back involved in. It's one of my proudest moments as a coach to get him back involved and he's played some amazing games of cricket for us.
"With our young batting line-up, having someone as calm and as knowledgeable as ten Doeschate in our coaching group, you can't buy that off a shelf. Our youngsters are spending every minute of the day with Tendo and it's going to hopefully improve them as cricketers and as people as well. We hope to keep Tendo involved as long as possible.
"I know that he is really keen on his coaching. He is doing his Level 3 now in England and I have no doubt he has got offers thrown at him left, right and centre. To be honest, I am probably keeping this seat warm because next time we are here, you'll probably be interviewing him as head coach and not me."