Teams want to play us now, says Dutch coach Cook

At a stretch: Netherland's Saqib Zulfiqar (right) during a practice sessions at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday (R.Satish BABU)
At a stretch: Netherland's Saqib Zulfiqar (right) during a practice sessions at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday (R.Satish BABU)

Netherlands' Ryan Cook on Saturday said fellow coaches of other teams have approached him to fit the Dutch into their cricket schedule after an eye-catching show in the World Cup.

The Netherlands play table-toppers India in the tournament's last league match in Bengaluru on Sunday.

The Dutch made an early impact at the tournament when they shocked high-flying South Africa.

The team, led by Scott Edwards and built around mostly foreign-born players, also defeated Bangladesh.

However, they sit bottom of the 10-team table before their ninth and final league game.

"I have actually had a few teams' coaches approach me and ask about our schedule and how potentially they could fit into their schedule, so that bodes well," South African-born Cook told reporters.

"We would obviously love to play as many teams as possible. We've shown that we can compete for long periods, and obviously by playing games against these teams, we're going to be able to compete better for longer."

Back home in the Netherlands, where sports such as football and tennis dominate headlines, cricket still struggles to be taken seriously.

Earlier in the tournament, fast bowler Logan van Beek criticised a Dutch TV show that made fun of the players.

But Cook said the mindset is changing after their World Cup show.

"It's been streamed on TV for quite some time. It's reaching a greater audience now and a lot more people are talking about it within the Netherlands," said Cook.

"Lots of people are sending pictures and messages about having watch parties, which maybe only contain 50 or 60 people in comparison to the IPL fan box that I see here in April and May which are which are packed but that's as big as it gets."

Many of the Dutch players had to hold day jobs to sustain their passion, including fast bowler Paul Van Meekeren who became an Uber Eats driver during the 2020 Covid pandemic.

But playing T20 tournaments including the Indian Premier League would be the ideal scenario for them to ply their trade.

Former international Ryan ten Doeschate blazed a trail by playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders from 2011-2015 while current all-rounder Bas de Leede turned out for IPL franchise Mumbai Indians in the UAE ILT20 last year.

"IPL would be a great experience for our players and that would be sort of the next level," said Cook.

"But even just any of the other leagues as well would be welcomed from the players' point of view and obviously the experience that they can gain in that space."