Netherlands’ Style of Play Earns Respect at ICC World Cup 2023, Says Ryan Cook

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Ryan Cook, the Netherlands head coach, believes his side has earned the respect of opponents for their style of play and ability to compete for long periods. Ahead of their ninth and final World Cup fixture, against India in Bengaluru, Cook looked back on the growth of his side over the past two months with fondness, while also giving an honest account of their shortcomings. “It goes without saying that the guys have put in some really good performances both individually and as a team, both batting and bowling and fielding,” he assessed. “So, I think everyone has gone in a respect for the way that we’ve played our cricket and the style in which we’ve gone about it. “And that’s been really pleasing to see from a coaching perspective. Prior to the World Cup, Cook had implored the bigger teams for some game time. When they didn’t get that, they were forced to come to India in October without having played an official ODI since their heroics at the Qualifiers in Zimbabwe in June. But now, things are looking up. “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,” Cook revealed. “But I know the international schedules are quite full. “But again, we would obviously love to play as many teams as possible. Cook admitted the scrapping of the ODI Super League – of which Netherlands were a part between 2020 and 2023 – was a big blow. However, there’s hope yet, with the ICC set to discuss the issue at its annual conference slated for later in the month. As things stand, the Super League isn’t part of the next cycle, with the participants for the 2027 World Cup to be decided based on the ODI rankings. This means there is no imperative for teams to play a set number of matches in the next four years. Associate nations, like Netherlands, will be hit hardest as they aren’t guaranteed a fixed number of games (it was 24 in the Super League cycle). “Yeah, I think the Super League was really influential for the players and they often refer back to those as reference points that they’ve had playing in different countries, playing against some of the top teams in the world,” Cook said. “And I think it’s probably one of the reasons why we sit in the position that we’re in today to be competing at the World Cup.” Cook was also forthright in talking about Netherlands’ shortcomings, without using their circumstances or scheduling as an excuse. “We need to be better for longer, whether that’s with the bat or with the ball,” he said. “I think we’ve shown glimpses of great periods of play. Netherlands came in wanting to shed this tag of being called Associates. This, Cook felt, had the potential to undermine their belief and play a certain way. They spoke often about the semi-finals being a realistic goal. While that couldn’t be achieved, Cook was happy that they will leave India knowing they’re a far better team than the one that arrived mid-September. “Yeah, I mean, obviously, would we have wanted to sort of be in those semi-final spaces come tomorrow? Yes, I’m sure we would have. But I think the guys take valuable lessons away and the relationships that we’ve been able to develop have been really strong. I think we’ve also learned a lot of lessons around how we should prepare for these types of conditions.”

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