The Netherlands cricket board, in a surprise move, has posted an advertisement on social media, inviting Indian cricketers to join them as net bowlers in their preparatory camp for the World Cup.
While it is a convention (not a rule) for local state associations to provide net bowlers to visiting teams, the Dutch cricket board has sought one left-arm seamer, one right-arm seamer, a mystery spinner and a left-arm spinner for the team's five-day pre-Cup camp in Alur from September 20-24.
The Netherlands squad, led by Australia-born Scott Edwards had come to Bengaluru in August for a short three-day acclimatisation camp but it is understood, the Netherland cricket doesn't have enough depth in domestic cricket or resources to have travelling net bowlers.
Listing out the criteria for becoming the Netherland World Cup squad's net bowler, "the pacers need to bowl above 120 kmph (75 miles per hour) and spinners, who are able to give it a tweak at a minimum 80 kmph (50 miles per hour)."
They have demanded videos with aspirants bowling a minimum of one over with a clear trajectory of the deliveries visible. Their travel, stay and meals during the camp would be taken care by the Royal Netherlands Cricket Association. All the applicants need to be above 18 years of age and residents of India.
Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), however, is ready to help them get the best possible net bowlers in town.
"They have already camped here and played a couple of matches. We have provided them with the required facilities, as per their request. We are ready to host them whenever they return," a senior KSC official told PTI when enquired about the advertisement
"We will provide the best possible facilities such as ground and net bowlers, and, yes, they are free to rope in any additional support," the KSCA official added.
A BCCI official, in the know of things, when asked about this unique advertisement, said that it is more to do with Netherlands team not having enough contact in this part of the world. "It is the state associations which provide net bowlers but some of the teams like England, Australia having travelled over the years have enough contacts among BCCI bodies and they rope in some quality net bowlers," the official explained.
"When Australia came for a Test series earlier this year, Vidarbha's Mahesh Pithiya and Jammu and Kashmir's Abid Mushtaq were there with the team helping during nets. They roped them through their contacts, something the Dutch won't have," he added.
"May be they want some quality travelling net bowlers because you always won't get the best net bowlers at all venues. It is better to carry at least a few permanently. With so much of travelling and matches on the bounce, the main squad bowlers of all teams won't go full throttle at nets and might not bowl on non-match days. What do you do then?".
Perhaps the weakest among the 10 countries involved in the 50-over global meet starting October 5, Netherlands cricket establishment still works in a semi-professional setup with more than 70 per cent of players earning their livelihood through different vocations and in the whole country, not even 10 players having central contract. Most of the players get a chance to practice during day time only on weekends while on weekdays, they finish their 9-5 job and train indoors in the evening.