It cannot be denied that there is a problem, or that the proportion of players in the Dutch team who learned their cricket elsewhere has, as in many other Associate countries, often been substantial, and from some points of view excessive.
But it’s a big step from these observations to the assertion that there is a systematic prejudice against home-produced talent – that there is a significant pool of well-qualified cricketers who are unable to attract the selectors’ eye simply because they do not enjoy the advantage of being foreign.
There was, it is true, a brief period, around 2011, when it did seem that anyone with a Dutch passport might get picked for the Netherlands even if they were not significantly better qualified than their locally-based rivals.
But since then no fewer than ten Dutch-produced players have been given a first national team cap: Sebastiaan Braat, Paul van Meekeren, James Gruijters, Viv Kingma, Quirijn Gunning, Thijs van Schelven, Jeroen Brand, Rahil Ahmed, Tobias Visée and Sikander Zulfiqar. Two of them, Van Meekeren and Kingma, have become established members of the squad.
This is scarcely evidence of a systematic preference for those who are sometimes – most unfairly, and with more than a hint of xenophobia – called ‘mercenaries’.
There is, it is true, a preference for those who can perform at the required level, but you have to ask where Dutch cricket would be now without the contributions of dedicated cricketers like Peter Borren, Wesley Barresi, Stef Myburgh, Micky Swart, Eric Szwarczynski, Timm van der Gugten, Tom and Ben Cooper, Michael Rippon and Roelof van der Merwe (not to mention Ryan ten Doeschate), all of whom are or have been proud to play for their adopted country.
The stakes are ever higher for a KNCB which seeks to compete at the highest level, with qualification for the World Cup or the World T20 competition constantly becoming more difficult, and the demands in skill and dedication which are made of players in the modern game go far beyond those required for success in domestic competition.
Coaches and selectors face a dilemma: on the one hand, they are expected to produce and recognise Dutch players capable of performing well at international level; on the other, it is imperative that their team keeps winning, especially in the one-day and T20 formats.
The question is not why Dutch-produced players are being omitted from the national side. It is why so few have emerged who are even remotely capable of surviving in the pressure-cooker environment of the international game.
And the reasons for that are complex.
To be sure, the Netherlands – to a greater extent, perhaps, than rival Associate countries – has a very restricted pool to fish in.
Youth numbers are stable now, after years of decline, but when there are only a couple of hundred cricketers in each of the under-15 and under-17 age-groups, and so few that it is no longer possible to run an U18 or U19 competition, we should be surprised that so many talented players are coming through, rather than moaning about their absence.
It is, however, true that until very recently the infrastructure was hardly conducive to an effective pathway from junior cricket into the representative ranks.
As youth competitions have been adapted to focus on retention of average players rather than the development of the most talented, the gap between club cricket and the elite game has widened. Clubs, too, are often more interested in filling their lower-division teams with their older youth, rather than on promoting these boys’ emergence as high-quality players, and at the same time many have preferred importing experienced match-winners to giving their own young players a chance to excel at the highest domestic level.
That is what made Excelsior’s success last season so satisfying: even earlier than the club itself expected, the trust which had been placed in youngsters like Tim Etman, Roel Verhagen, Rens van Troost and Gijs Kroesen was rewarded with the national championship.
It is an example that other Top- and Hoofdklasse clubs would do well to follow.
The North Sea Pro Series now has Young and Mini versions which give juniors from U15 level and below the opportunity to test their mettle against their peers, and their coaches the chance to watch them doing so.
But that leaves a crucial gap, in exactly that age-group where the most severe test comes: young players from 16 to 21 who need to hone their skills if they are ever to make the grade. Clubs, it seems, prefer such players to fill up their own teams rather than giving them the chance to strut their stuff on a regional stage.
That, combined with the continuing absence of a credible, truly demanding A-team programme, means that a question mark must be placed against the KNCB’s declared ambition of creating a much more home-based national team in the short to medium term.
Facing these problems and making a genuine effort to solve them would make a bigger contribution to the development of Dutch cricket than constantly wittering on about an almost wholly imaginary prejudice against Dutch-produced players.