The ODI series between the Netherlands and England scheduled for May 2021 has been postponed due to "continuing uncertainty regarding the Covid-19 pandemic". The series, which consists of three ODIs and is scheduled to be played in Amstelveen, will now be played in May 2022.
The KNCB was hoping the series would attract sell-out crowds and provide a significant boost to the sport in the Netherlands. But the prospect of not being allowed to admit spectators rendered the games unviable from a financial perspective and threatened to turn the event into a missed opportunity.
A joint statement from the KNCB and the ECB read: "The participation of the Netherlands in the ICC competition, as the only Associate Member, is an enormous challenge for Dutch cricket, and the home matches versus England would be a great chance to put cricket on the map in the country.
"The prospect of having to play these matches with hardly any or no spectators at all was not a viable option for the KNCB, and the ECB showed their understanding of this situation."
Although not confirmed, it is hoped the series will still be included in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League standings. Originally the Super League was scheduled to start on 1 May 2020 and conclude on 31 March 2022. But with some series postponed, the ICC is discussing options to provide greater flexibility.
"It is disappointing that we are unable to play the Netherlands in May in what would be England's first visit to Holland," Ashley Giles, the managing director of England men's cricket, said. "Hopefully, with the prospect of crowds returning to sport soon, we can rearrange the three matches in 2022 and showcase international cricket to capacity crowds. I am sure many fans will want to travel across from England and be part of this historic ODI series."
In official internationals, England and the Netherlands have previously only faced one another at ICC global events, at three World Cups in 1996, 2003, and 2011, and in two World T20s, both of which produced shock results - the Netherlands won by four wickets in the opening fixture of the 2009 event at Lord's, and by 45 runs at Chattogram in 2014.