The Tim Brooks Column
Big Questions: Tim De Leede
The Tim Brooks Column: Previous Articles
As part of a series of interviews with leading Associate players in the period 2000-2010, Tim De Leede, of the Netherlands, shares his views with Tim Brooks on development issues, the potential of T20 to spread the game and the best Dutch XI.
What have been the biggest changes in the game for associate players since you started your career?
When I started we trained once a week for six weeks before going on tour. When I finished it was four times a week.
How significant has the introduction of professional / semi-professional contracts been in bridging the gap between the leading associates and test nations?
Huge. We used to get 200 and that would be enough to win the game. Nowadays 300 is sometimes not enough. Batting standards, in particular, improve dramatically when you train a few times a week.
The ICC have increased funding for leading associates to help them become more competitive at world cups. How effective has the High Performance Programme been and what else could be done to bridge the gap?
The HPP programme is/has been fantastic for the leading associates, but unfortunately the ICC have not supported this with a long term vision regarding associate participation at World Cups. They do not complement each other which is a shame.
Is the Intercontinental cup a popular competition with the players and to what extent is it crucial as a testing ground for potential promotion to test status?
Test status is the ultimate form of cricket and therefore the most difficult to be competitive in. Associates should play four day cricket and when the domestic competition is strong enough they should play two day cricket as well. But do not expect countries like Ireland to walk into Test cricket and perform as well as they have done in the 20 and 50 over formats. In the Netherlands most players are still amateur and it is difficult for them to take time off work. This means that they prefer to play the T20 and 50 over matches and competitions. So no, The Intercontinental Cup is not popular in this respect.
Do you think the winners of the Intercontinental Cup should get an opportunity to play a test match against the lowest ranked test nation? Is a two division test championship a good idea?
The winners of the Intercontinental Cup should get a match against Bangladesh and/ or Zimbabwe to judge their progression. Having a divison two is only interesting if the leading associates can field their strongest teams.
How important is the T20 format in spreading the game and how can associates best capitalise on this?
T20 can make cricket into the second biggest sport in the world. And by reducing the numbers of associates participating in the T20 World Cup the ICC have made a huge mistake. In the Netherlands T20 is the only way to keep cricket alive!
Should leading associates, and leading associate players, focus on T20 for the greatest opportunity to be competitive or should the ultimate aim remain promotion to test cricket?
They should focus on T20 and the ICC should allow at least six associates in the T20 World Cup. With the small base cricket has in The Netherlands Test cricket is not an option.
ICC figures show a huge increase in player participation over the last decade. In your experience what are the most effective ways of spreading cricket to new people/communities?
TV exposure. The Netherlands do not get cricket on TV so few people know what it is. We have a fantastic sponsor but their focus is cricket in India and the Middle East. Fair enough, but it does not do anything for cricket at home…
Is Test Cricket a realistic ambition for associate nations?
For Ireland yes, if they can hang on to the likes of Joyce and Morgan. When the base is broad people show an interest in cricket, including TV and sponsors. After another ten years Test cricket is an option.
What role do test nations have in raising standards and offering support to associate and affiliate nations in their region?
Help them out with anything. We have been playing CB40 for two seasons now and the players have become so much better. But our under age groups go the the UK and always play good opponents and are a well looked after. Associates have to help themselves as well I guess by arranging tours and development opportunities and not waiting for the big brother to come and help.
Should the ICC target lucrative markets such as the USA or China or give every member an equal opportunity to progress?
It is all about money and the sponsors of the ICC will have indicated that they should move in to these countries for economic reasons. Fair enough, but keep supporting the smaller countries who already have a platform.
What if your most cherished memory on a cricket field?
Qualifying for World Cups was always great. But what it is all about is the friends I have made all over the world. They do not remember you as player, they remember you as a bloke.
Who is the most talented player you have played with?
Nolan Clarke and Ryan ten Doeschate stood out. A different generation but the same hunger to do well every time the walked onto a field. Internationally, Steve Tikolo.
If you were asked to select an all time Netherlands XI what would it be?
Steven Lubbers, Roland Lefebvre, Asim Khan, Nolan Clarke, Jeroen Smits, Luuk van Troost, Bas Zuiderent, Ryan ten Doeschate, Peter Cantrell, Edgar Schiferli and I would like to play myself as well…
What are your future aspirations in the game?
I coach the U12 and U13 and love that. Will do some more coaching in future but the family is the main priority.
This is taken from the BIG QUESTIONS series of interviews on CricketAtlas, looking back at development of the global game with key figures on the associate scene in the period 2000 - 2010. The rest of the series can be viewed at CricketAtlas.
Have you any comment to make on any aspect of this article? What are your views on any of the opinions expressed in it? Have your say on the CricketEurope International Forum.