T20 World Cup: Associate nations have strategy to create upsets, says Ryan Ten Doeschate

  • Not your typical Associate flag-bearer with limited cricketing skills, Dutchman Ryan ten Doeschate, an IPL and County championship winner, hopes to impress in an ICC event again.
T20 World Cup: Associate nations have strategy to create upsets, says Ryan Ten Doeschate(TWITTER) PREMIUM
T20 World Cup: Associate nations have strategy to create upsets, says Ryan Ten Doeschate(TWITTER)
Updated on Oct 17, 2021 10:30 PM IST
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ByRasesh Mandani, Mumbai

Much before Tim David and Sandeep Lamichhane, there was Ryan ten Doeschate. Associate nations and their players were very much in the fringes—well before Ireland and Afghanistan became Test team—when the Dutch batting star became part of Kolkata Knight Riders’ winning 2012 and 2014 campaigns. A year before the first IPL title, he had struck two hundreds in the 2011 ODI World Cup.

Ten Doeschate also captained Essex to two County championships, in 2017 and 2019. At 41, he is still going strong, and is set to don the orange jersey in the T20 World Cup. The batter sporting a salt and pepper French beard talks about his career highlights and Netherlands’ desire to break into the Super 12s at the World Cup in this interview. Netherlands are placed with Sri Lanka, Ireland and Namibia in Round 1 qualification of the World Cup. The top two will make it to the Super 12s.



Did you think you had another World Cup in you?

At the time we qualified (2019), I didn’t think I would be playing, I kind of felt my job was done. Then I had a chat with Cambo (coach Ryan Campbell) in July or Aug 2019 and he said they would still like to use me. I always say the important cycle for Associate nations is the period between the World Cups. This is essentially reward for qualifying and staying in the cycle. It's a showpiece, a nice place to come and show how good you are.

How keen are you to qualify and compete with the top sides again?

The experience at that level to compete is something really unique. It gives you more desire to go there and improve—A for yourself and B as a team. The goal is to get out of the first round and have a shot with the big boys.

We have a good mix of players; full-time County pros are half the team. They join up with the guys who work exceptionally hard in Netherlands. It's actually inspirational for the professional guys to see how hard those guys are working. We got 10 days to work on tactics and strategy amongst the two set of players. There is a sense of confidence and preparation to take it on.

In India, we remember you for your hundred against England in the 2011 World Cup.

One of the absolute highlights of my career (119 in Nagpur), I can't believe it was 10 years ago. It’s just a good example for someone who is punching above weight. At the elite level, small moments like those can change your destiny and your career. That's one of the many examples of how guys who you have never heard of or guys who you never think can play against the best teams show how good they are. It can be really rewarding for you.

Around the same time, you played for KKR. What memories do you have?

If I remember correctly, I already had an IPL contract before that World Cup. The 2011 World Cup show put me on the stage; that it was in India certainly helped. More than what you get back from achieving these things, the reward for all the hard work to find your place is really what it is about when you compete against the best players.

The interactions in IPL were the key takeaways. To be so well received by world class cricketers. That was the first time I was in an environment where every other player was the best in their area. Also experiencing the hype of IPL, not from a cricketing point of view but fan support point of view...to play at the Eden Gardens, to be part of two winning KKR teams was a real high of my career. Fantastic memories. To watch some of your peers go out there and play the innings of their lives. I remember Manvinder Bisla's innings, someone who hadn't set the world alight to do it in the final. And just like anything that feeling of accomplishment felt special.

You went on to win two Country championships with Essex.

Very, very different (experiences). In County, you are there for a long period with a slow long drive to achieve your targets. You have to set out differently as to how you go about it, the sort of relationships you establish. You have to take a longer view of your strategy and the culture. Like anything there is a start point and there is a goal in front of you to navigate and get to that. But in lot of ways, it is same as well. In county cricket, the satisfaction may be on a smaller scale, but it is more intense, having spent a lot of time with the same people building relationships. Winning is every person's reason to play professional sport and to have won twice with KKR and Essex… a lot of very good players have to go through without winning much. So, I feel very lucky to have had those experiences.

You played around the world, in Australia, New Zealand... How different did you find one dressing room from the other?

In teams you have got your funny guys, the serious guys, the quiet guys, guys who like to have a drink late in the day, those who like to hit the gym first thing in the morning. Lot of commonality and differences as well. The glitz and glamour and hype of IPL couldn't be more opposite to Dunedin where you have a small community and a smaller organisation. Somehow, they all seem to balance out and deliver the same result. As long as you can find your purpose , you can device the same satisfaction of reward.

Funnily enough, you don’t get to spend enough time with the Netherlands side. It would be more on and off compared to the way it is with the Test teams?

It mirrors franchise cricket more than County cricket where you try to set out your objectives and look to obtain it. What is at stake for Associate cricket is big in a small space of time. You never need a reason to get motivated or to get ready for these games with so much on the line between cycles and to be able to qualify for the next World Cup. I have never had a problem getting up for it. The prize of being able to get to face the big boys which doesn't come around very often. There is a lot at stake and lot to play for and lot of reasons to be switched on and give it our all.

Netherlands’ win against England in the 2009 T20 World Cup was quite an event?

For the shock factor, and that it was the first time we upset a big team, it was great and memorable. Maybe in the context of where we were going, it wasn't such a big thing. In 2007 or until 2015, my feeling was that the Associates took on the Test teams with a chance of an outside win being like 1/100. And you didn't actually actively pursue it. You kind of hoped and on a whim rocked up on the day. Now, guys actively go for the big guys. They are obviously better and have more quality. But it's a testament to the sort of improvement seen in Associate countries that they now look at a top side and believe, ‘if we have our day, we can beat them’. They have an active strategy to try and win these games.

How do you make sure age remains just a number for you?

Maybe things get a bit tougher, the eyes get a bit slower. But if you evaluate your position or role in the big picture, it's the same as any other time I played a game. 2011 or however it works out. I just try to give my best whether at 41 or 21, you can’t give any less. It’s pretty easy to get up for it and always the cost is in the back of your mind that this could be the last time you have this opportunity. An opportunity to play in the World Cup is special and I won't take it for granted. I will be giving it absolutely everything for the next three weeks.

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    Rasesh Mandani loves a straight drive. He has been covering cricket, the governance and business side of sport for close to two decades. He writes and video blogs for HT.

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