Player Contract is Essential to Play Cricket Full-Time in Netherlands: Bas de Leede

Bas de Leede emphasises financial security and advocates for full-time contracts for cricket players in the Netherlands.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip Mohanty

Last Updated: 2024-02-01

Umaima Saeed

5 minutes read

Netherland's Small Pool of Cricket Players

The Netherlands was the only associate nation to participate in the 2023 Cricket World Cup, marking their 5th appearance in this prestigious cricket event. Alongside Kenya, they become the second associate nation to compete in the World Cup for the 5th time. The Netherlands' qualification for the 2023 World Cup, which was a 10-team event, is particularly remarkable as they surpassed teams like West Indies, Zimbabwe, and Ireland in the World Cup Qualifier to secure their spot. A key contributor to the Netherlands' qualification was their all-rounder, Bas de Leede.

Following an impressive performance throughout the year, including the World Cup, Bas de Leede was honoured with the 2023 ICC Associate Cricketer of the Year award. The Netherlands has shown significant improvement among associate nations. In an exclusive interview with SportsBoom, Bas de Leede shared his thoughts on the biggest challenge the Netherlands cricket faces at present.

When discussing the immediate challenges for Netherlands cricket, Bas highlights the small cricketing community with only 6,000 players. Though the Netherlands have around 180 million people, it’s a challenge to find talents from this small pool of cricket players.

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It's tough because Cricket in the Netherlands is quite small. I think there are only 6,000 cricketers in the Netherlands. So there isn't a lot that could be changed there. I mean just don't have a large pool to select from.

Bas de Leede on the smaller pool of cricket players in the Netherlands

Bas de Leede on Full-Time Contract

Bas also emphasises the need for increased contracts to allow more players to focus on cricket full-time. Currently Netherlands cricket's full-time contract is limited to nine players. Financial security is crucial, as players often juggle jobs or studies alongside cricket. While a long-term goal involves growing cricket in the Netherlands, the immediate focus is on expanding contracts to professionalise the national squad.

Bas de Leede of Netherlands celebrates the wicket.jpeg
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A lot of guys are still working or studying besides playing cricket. There's going to be nine contracts this year to play cricket full-time. Obviously, a team is made up of 11 and a, a squad is made up of 15 or 17.

Bas de Leede on full-time contracts for the Netherlands players

During the 2022 T20 World Cup, the Dutch cricket team manager had to fly back home from Australia because his office required his presence. The manager does not receive payment. A new manager had to be called in. Players like Stephan Myburgh and N Teja, who work at a consultancy company, played in the T20 World Cup while on unpaid leave. They returned to their office after the tournament concluded.

The only thing we would like to change is changing the contracts. A lot of guys are still working or studying besides playing cricket. There are going to be nine contracts this year to play cricket full-time. Obviously, a team is made up of 11 and, a squad is made up of 15 or 17. So you know, if we can keep expanding the contract numbers, then you know, we keep professionalising the game within the Netherlands squad. That would be a great step. Ideally, you would want Cricket to grow in the Netherlands, but that's more of a long-term term goal, said Bas.

New Zealand Cricket was the first to introduce equal match fees for both male and female cricket players in July 2022. India followed suit, announcing equal pay for male and female cricketers in October 2022. Cricket Australia has set a target of increasing the number of boys playing the game (aged 5-12) to 210,000 and the number of girls in the same age group to 60,000. Furthermore, women's pay has seen significant increases in recent years.

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Financial security to play cricket full-time is massive because you have to choose between the security of having a job or trying to get picked. If you don't get picked, you don't get paid. It's a tough decision.

Bas de Leede on the necessity of financial security for players

While major cricketing nations provide incentives to motivate players and expand the base of the sport, for Netherlands cricket, a full-time contract is not just a motivation but a necessity to play cricket. It is a matter of livelihood. When the 2022 T20 World Cup was postponed at the peak of the Covid pandemic the Netherlands bowler Paul van Meekeren expressed his disappointment and struggle tweeting “Should’ve been playing cricket today, now I’m delivering Uber eats to get through the winter months!! Funny how things change hahaha keep smiling people.”

That encapsulates the irony of being a full-time cricket player in the Netherlands.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip MohantySports Editor

Dillip has over two decades of experience in creating sports content. As the Sports Editor of SportsBoom, Dillip brings in a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. Dillip has worked with leading sports broadcasters and sports web content portals in Asia. He is an adept storyteller and has a special liking for data stories. He has a keen interest in data analysis and uncovering insights from large datasets. He loves to tell the story with rich and compelling data visualisation.