In the universe of uncertainties created by the Covid-19 pandemic, therefore, it should come as no surprise that the memorandum circulated by the KNCB to its member clubs on Wednesday should leave a great many questions unanswered. It is, at least, a clear definition of what we don’t yet know.
It begins by subscribing to a ringing quotation from the Dutch Olympic Committee, NOC*NSF: ‘Everyone in the Netherlands is affected by the rules for fighting the corona virus, not least sport. Everyone contributes as much as possible in his or her own way to the blocking and delaying of the virus, so that we protect as much as possible those who carry a greater risk.’
The current situation in the Netherlands is that all sporting activities, including matches, training sessions, meetings and other events, are cancelled or postponed until after 6 April. What happens after that is anybody’s guess, but it is difficult to believe that everything will then miraculously return to normal.
With the Dutch domestic cricket competitions due to get under way on 2 May, it is therefore unsurprising that a great deal of contingency planning is currently taking place, or that the KNCB is unable to say much more than that the 2020 season, when and if it happens, will be very different.
The guiding policy, the memorandum declares, is to allow as many teams as possible to play as much cricket as possible.
And one important decision has already been made: with clubs uncertain about whether they will be able to fly in their overseas players, there will be no promotion or relegation this year in any of the KNCB’s competitions.
It seems likely, too, that the scheduled international programme will also be disrupted, although to what degree is another of the known unknowns.
With New Zealand due to play a T20 International in Rotterdam on 15 June, followed by the quadrangular tournament with Namibia, Oman and the USA and the three-match Super League series against Pakistan, intensive negotiations are taking place with the ICC and with the governing bodies of those other participating countries.
No decision has yet been made by the ICC about the Women’s World Cup qualifier scheduled for Sri Lanka in July, and with international air travel massively hit and the entire international sporting programme on hold, there may even be questions about the Super League series in Zimbabwe in September and the World T20 Cup in Australia in October-November.
In such times a lucid exposition of the known unknowns may be the best we can hope for, and the KNCB’s memorandum is a clear, rational and in a curious sense reassuring statement of where we are at this moment.
As the world appears to be collapsing around us, governments are taking unprecedented measures, the supermarket shelves are being stripped bare by entirely unnecessary hoarding, and each day’s news seems more apocalyptic than the day before, the memorandum looks forward to a time when we will again hear the crisp sound of leather on willow.