Netherlands coach Ryan Campbell has criticised ICC's decision to scrap the Cricket World Cup Super League, which he feels may hurt the game's growth among Associate nations. The ICC had announced last week that the 13-team ODI Super League will be scrapped after the 2023 World Cup in India.
The International Cricket Council ( ICC) had announced last week the scrapping of the ICC ODI World Cup Super League after the 2023 World Cup in India. This means that the teams will now compete to finish higher in the rankings by a select cut-off date for a World Cup qualification.
For the 2027 edition to be jointly hosted by South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia, the top-ten ranked teams on a scheduled date will qualify directly, while four more will be added to the competition after a global qualifier.
Ryan Campbell, the Netherlands coach has criticised ICC’s decision, which he feels will deprive the Associate Nations an opportunity to compete against the top teams, and thereby make the game less inclusive.
"The Super League was always meant to give that 13th team, an Associate, an opportunity to play the best teams in the world," Campbell was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo. “It was the first time in the history of Dutch cricket that cricket was shown live on Dutch television. The scrapping of the Super League was disappointing for all Associate countries but that's the decision that's been made.
"Every Associate country is wondering what next? How do we play? Where do we get our fixtures? Is the World Cricket League Two going to stay in place? How do you get into a ranking league and compete for a spot in the 2027 World Cup? There's lots of answers we need to find and I think that is only going to be in time."
Campbell, who played two ODIs for the top-ranked Australian side in 2002, before representing Hong Kong in three matches at the T20 World Cup 2016, reflected on the challenges that Associate Nations face, and explained the significant role these teams can play in carrying the game forward.
"I was lucky enough to be involved in the greatest team for Australian cricket and while I was there, I had no thought of what goes on in Associate cricket. I had no idea. I was drafted to go to Hong Kong and that was my first hard look at Associate cricket and the rigours you've got to go through, mostly unpaid. It really gets under my skin that the top cricket teams in the world - and I am trying not to be political here - but the facts are that we should be leaving this game in a better state for future generations.
"We can come out and say we want to be the most participated sport in the world and go on and 'blah blah blah' but if you're not giving opportunities to the best Associate teams or teams lower down the scale to improve and go up against the big ten, it's very frustrating. If you follow the game, teams ranked 11, 12, 13 are very close to teams 14, 15 and 16.
"I just get the feeling that sometimes individual countries forget that it's supposed to be a world game. I think it was Donald Bradman who said we are supposed to leave the game in a better position when we go and I would ask that question of all the big teams: are they doing that or are they just worried about their own backyards and interests?
"When you look at the last division of (ICC) money that was split up, England and India and Australia wanted more and that came out of the Associate pool and then within weeks, they were announcing billion dollar new TV rights deals which is pretty frustrating.
"At the end of the day, it's the world game and hopefully some of these bigger countries understand that if we want to grow the world game, the growth isn't going to come from the big countries, it's going to come from all the ones underneath them and they need to get in and help."
Netherlands didn’t quite hit their best at the recently concluded T20 World Cup 2021, as they failed to make it to the Super 12s stage and bowed out with three defeats from as many games. Campbell believed that “three bad games of cricket shouldn't define the group”, as the focus shifts on finishing in the top 10 in the ongoing Super League. They are currently placed 13th (last) in the points table, having secured a 2-1 series win against Ireland in June.
"Our short term goal is to finish 10th in the Super League. That's always been our goal,” he said. “That sounds a bit brash but this group of players will always set out to not just survive but show what we are all about. We've got a lot of good professionals playing in the county system but also back home. It's really important for us that we go out there and to inspire the next generation of Dutch cricketers but also to show the world that we can compete against the best teams in the world."
The Netherlands team is currently in South Africa for a three-match ODI series, which is a part of the CWC Super League, and will get underway on Friday, November 26, in Centurion.