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Ryan ten Doeschate: The best associate cricketer of our times

  • In an era with some of the finest players of all time, there was one player whose achievements have gone somewhat unnoticed, because he did not play for a Test playing nation. His record, both internationally and domestically, is right up there with the best. Ryan ten Doeschate is definitely the best associate player of his time.
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Modified 18 Sep 2014, 21:33 IST
Ryan ten Doeschate
Ryan ten Doeschate

In the past 20 years or so, the cricket world has seen some of the all-time greats. Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis, Wasim Akram, Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath, etc., but amidst these greats is another player, whose efforts have not been noticed as much, because he did not play for any of the Test playing nations.

Dutch all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate, only the 30th player from his nation to play ODIs, has been playing international cricket since 2006, and domestic cricket in England since 2003. He has been named “Associate Player Of The Year” on 3 occasions, more than any other player. Today, he is a regular in the various T20 leagues around the world.

Ten Doeschate, born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, was signed by English County, Essex, after their then coach, Graham Gooch was impressed by his performance in a game in South Africa, where the Dutchman was playing for the second team of Western Province. He first excelled with the ball, and later with the bat. Because of his Dutch citizenship, he was eligible to play in the English domestic league, and was signed by Essex thereafter. Since then, he has been a regular in the side, and an integral part of their efforts in County Cricket.

Big performances in ICC tournaments

He played for the Dutch national team in 2005 and 2006 in the ICC Intercontinental Cup, where he struck unbelievable form, scoring big regularly, including a record-breaking 259 against Canada. He was named in the Dutch squad for the 2007 ICC World Cup, and in a warm-up match against a strong India side, he took 5 wickets and scored a half century. But the best moment in Ten Doeschate’s international career was probably the opening match at the 2009 World T20.

Playing against hosts England, at the Home of Cricket, Lord’s, he took 2 wickets and remained unbeaten on 22, as the Dutch shocked England. As a part of the Dutch team in the 2011 ICC World Cup, he enjoyed a good run, scoring 2 centuries, including one against England. He was one of only 3 players to score 2 centuries in that edition of the tournament.

Since then though, Ten Doeschate has not played much international cricket, as he focussed his efforts on the various domestic teams he plays for. One cannot blame him, as the level of cricket in these competitions are far better than anything the Dutch would be a part of.

T20 specialist

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Playing the T20 leagues in England, South Africa, Australia, India, New Zealand and Bangladesh, he has been an integral part of any team he has represented. Aside from being a terrific batsman and a more than handy bowler, he is also a terrific fielder, making him the complete package.

So what do the statistics say about Ten Doeschate’s career? Having played 33 matches, scoring over 1,500 runs, his batting average stands at 67.00, which is, by some distance, the highest batting average for any player with a minimum of 10 innings, which is generally taken as the yardstick.

Of course, most of the matches were not played against the top teams, so this may not provide the correct picture. However, looking at his record against Test playing nations, it is 51.67, which is still excellent, albeit over a smaller number of innings than most batsmen. His List A average is 45.83, which is amongst the top 20 of all time, and given that most of his domestic cricket was played in England and South Africa, where the standard of cricket is quite good, this is a very respectable average. 

Today, at the age of 34, ten Doeschate is considered to be one of the most experienced players in domestic competitions, and has done justice to this for any side he has played for. Being born in South Africa, he was eligible to play for the national team, but took a decision early on to play for the Dutch, as he considered his chances of playing for South Africa rather slim.

Even though he has not played a whole lot of international cricket, he has plied his trade against some of the best in the world, and has been successful in pretty much all conditions. With his record, one cannot help but feel that he would have probably had a good career had he chosen to play for South Africa too, but there is no doubt that he has been the best player of his generation from the associate nations.

Published 18 Sep 2014, 20:46 IST
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