Plans for the visit, the first by a Full Member country since South Africa played an ODI in Amstelveen in 2013, were announced by the KNCB at Wednesday evening’s general meeting, and tweeted by Zimbabwe Cricket at about the same time.
The three matches, at venues which are yet to be confirmed, are scheduled to be played on 20, 22 and 24 June, as part of a European tour which will also take the Zimbabweans to Edinburgh to play two ODIs against Scotland.
They are likely to be the high point of the Dutch domestic season, in a year in which it had seemed that all the real action would be taking place on foreign fields. They will also provide valuable match experience for coach Ryan Campbell’s men as they prepare for the final phases of the World Cricket League Championship.
Zimbabwe, currently ranked 11th among ODI countries – below Afghanistan and just above Ireland – are almost certain to be involved in the final qualifying process for the 2019 World Cup, and the Dutch will join them if, as now seems almost certain, they finish in the top four of the Championship.
The recovery of the Netherlands side from the disappointment of failing to qualify for the 2015 World Cup and losing ODI status at the same time is one of the under-heralded success stories of international cricket, and after Papua New Guinea dropped two vital points in the UAE last month they are in the driving seat of the WCL Championship with four matches to go.
There are many uncertainties ahead, not least the ICC’s reported plans for a 13-team ODI league which could include the winners of the Championship, but the Dutch will go into these two home friendly series knowing that they have everything to play for.
This summer’s visit will be the first by a full Zimbabwe side since, still an Associate country, they won the 1990 ICC Trophy, beating the hosts in the final at De Diepput. A Zimbabwe XI did, however, play in Amstelveen in 2010, losing a one-day game by 58 runs but then going on to a comfortable win in the Intercontinental Cup match which followed.
At least two members of that side, Craig Ervine and Sean Williams, are likely to be in the squad for this season’s tour, while Peter Borren, Wesley Barresi and Pieter Seelaar are the surviving regular members of the Dutch side from seven years ago.