The Tim Brooks Column
Associates getting television coverage
The Tim Brooks Column: Previous Articles
When I first started writing about cricket beneath full member level eight years ago I would never have dreamed that matches would be televised. But such is the interest in the leading Associates and Affiliate nations that the dream has become a reality, and I have been fortunate enough to present the action for Quipu TV.
Covering the recent fixtures in the Netherlands, featuring the UAE, Scotland and Bangladesh as well as the hosts, I was struck by how far the game has come. Amazingly if all games had gone the full distance the Netherlands would have played 720 overs in 11 days across four formats. Comfortable wins against the UAE in the World Cricket League Championships were followed by a historic win against Bangladesh in T20 and a defeat against Gloucestershire in the CB40. It wasn’t that long ago when the only competitive fixtures for associate nations came at the ICC trophy, that only came round every four years. Progress indeed.
Having television coverage gives the matches an extra edge, with players wanting to impress and feeling part of a significant event. Cricket at this level is no longer played to one man and his dog. Commentary provided an opportunity to raise important issues such as the Woolf Report, development structures, the balance between home grown talent and ‘passport players’ and TAPP funding. I was priviledged to welcome as guests Richard Cox (Netherlands CEO), Eddie Fitzgibbon (ICC, Event Manager) and Bas Zuiderent (Veteran of four world cups for the Netherlands). They offered observation, insight and anecdote to help bring colour and context to the occasion.
Some of the players clearly relished being under the spotlight of television cameras with Richie Berrington’s century a real gem of an innings along with sterling performances by Swart, Haq, Van der Gugten and Tamim Iqbal along the way. Television can bring these games to a wider audience and in so doing raise both the profile and the marketing potential of cricket at associate level. It is also an important part of providing leading players with the same opportunities as their test cousins, to showcase their ability and analyse their performances. With cameras present their deeds are being watched, scrutinised even, and that can only be positive for their self-belief and their development. Tom Cooper's dropped dolly against Tamim on 2 for instance!
It truly warmed the cockles to see the passion and commitment to the game of the Dutch cricketing fraternity. Although the games were played in resplendent sunshine, ground staff at Rotterdam, Deventer and Voorburg had worked tirelessly to prepare magnificent playing conditions. That volunteers can meet the exacting standards required by the ICC is testament to their skill and commitment.
Around 100,000 Bangladeshi supporters tuned into the coverage and saw their team slip on both Scottish and Dutch banana skins. They will be under no allusion that the HPP associates, on their day, can be a match for them, even after a decade as a full member. They will be wary of both Ireland and Afghanistan come September in Sri Lanka.
When I was in a taxi from Rotterdam airport to the VOC ground the driver informed me curtly that ‘the Dutch don’t play cricket.’ I hope he was watching our coverage. It may be a minority sport in the Netherlands but the community is effervescing with enthusiasm. And I’m pleased that their efforts were showcased on television. For amidst and amongst the sixes, square cuts and slower balls the coverage was a documentary of the Dutch cricketing community. And they deserve their day in the sun.
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