The KNCB has announced that Development Officer – and captain of the national women’s team – Esther de Lange (33) is leaving to take up a new appointment as a development officer with ICC Europe in London.

De Lange will be sorely missed both as an administrator and as a player, but those who have benefited from her enthusiasm and experience in the Netherlands will be in no doubt that the KNCB’s loss will prove to be European cricket’s gain.

A Level 3 coach, she was appointed to her Development Officer role in succession to Hannah Hofman in 2015, and has enjoyed considerable success both in furthering the Dutch Lionesses programme and in promoting the growth of youth cricket, and especially girls’ cricket, at the grassroots.

It is in part due to her energy that girls’ cricket has been the fastest growing sector of the Dutch game over the past two years.

She has been a leading advocate for innovative playing formats such as the SMASH! Cricket which the KNCB introduced last season, and in an interview with the Bond’s online magazine Cricket.NL she reflected on the appropriate strategies for creating attractive and successful programmes.

‘There’s never a standard solution,’ she says. ‘You have to look at what’s practical and achievable.

‘In that sense the Netherlands is an example of how you can combine the programmes of the ECB and Cricket Australia with Dutch sporting culture and practice.’

As a player, De Lange also took on greater responsibility in 2015 by assuming the captaincy in succession to Denise Hannema, at a time when the retirement or withdrawal of several senior players left the national squad in considerable difficulties.

She has led a young team through a testing rebuilding process, and in this role too she will not be easy to replace.

She will be particularly missed at the European/American Women’s Twenty20 Qualifier in Scotland in August, an event which she will, ironically, now be helping to organise.

Since making her debut in 2005 she has played 122 times for her country across all formats, and with 132 wickets at an average cost of 21.12 she is the Netherlands’ leading international wicket-taker.