After an 18-year professional career (with highlights including his 259 runs against Canada in 2005 and two IPL titles), Ryan ten Doeschate announced last weekend that he would be ending his cricket career as of 2022.
Ten Doeschate's international career had a long break between 2011 and 2017, but after his return he helped Oranje qualify for the upcoming T20 World Cup, where he has been announced to compete at. A fitting and wonderful end to his career in orange lies ahead.
Netherlands team manager Jeroen Smits looks back fondly on his time together with 'Tendo':
"The first meeting with Ryan must have been sometime in 2000 when we were playing on the field of the University of Cape Town with the Dutch national team, where we heard that we were going to play against a player with a Dutch passport. That day, for "UCT", he already impressed us with his improbable effort and full commitment throughout the match. At that moment, I did not think that that man would become the best player to ever play for the Netherlands. Ryan was a relatively fast bowler at the time, an amazing fielder and real athlete, but batting was not his priority at the time.”
That all changed when he was approached by Essex CCC during a tour of England with cricket club Bloemendaal, which he played for one summer. He decided to follow the advice of former English opening batsman and captain Graham Gooch, and go to Australia in the winter to develop as a batsman and thus become a genuine all-rounder.
“His work ethic is unmatched and I dare say that, in addition to his incredible talent, that's what got him to achieve what he has achieved”, continues Smits. “Before we knew it, he had made his debut for Essex and became a fixture there. It took another three years before he would play for the Dutch national team. His first international game was against Sri Lanka in 2006, where Sri Lanka scored an incredible 443 runs, a world record at the time.”
It quickly became clear that Ten Doeschate was really going to make the difference. Not only on, but also off the field. In addition to being an insanely likeable guy, 'Tendo' is also someone who truly opened the eyes of the other players. “Where we enjoyed a rest in the afternoon after a long training session, Ryan went out with the trainers every chance he got, so he could go for some extra throw downs in the nets.”
It is not without reason that Ten Doeschate has held the world record with the highest ODI average for years. Many greats like Kohli, Dhoni and Tendulkar (India) and De Villiers (South Africa) have never been able to take that record from him.
Smits: “Ryan not only left a great mark on the game in the Netherlands with his performance, but was always ready to help other players tactically and technically. He also knew how to lift other players' game and mentality to the next level and his fighting spirit on the field made us all go the extra mile.
I remember it well; during a qualifying tournament for the World Cup T20 in England, we were watching TV one evening where an Essex CCC day/night match was being broadcasted live. Ryan played amazingly well. The game finished late in the evening, but when we got on the field in Belfast in the morning Ryan was fully clothed and ready to help us qualify for the World Cup. He did the same for the 2011 World Cup qualifiers in India, for which we played qualifiers in South Africa in February/March 2009. Here too, he traveled back and forth between South Africa and England.”
It is certainly no surprise that he was the man who was on the field when the winning runs were scored, on that legendary evening in 2009 when the Dutch defeated England in the opening game of the tournament. He made the Dutch realize that they are competitive and that we can also take on big opponents. "The Netherlands will certainly miss Ten Doeschate, but his impact will never be forgotten."
Netherlands head coach Ryan Campbell added: "The word great gets thrown around way too easily in professional sport but the word simply sums up Ryan's career perfectly. He will go down in the history books as the greatest associate cricketer ever to play the game.
Personally, I will always be grateful that Ryan returned to our team after not playing since 2011. He gave this group hope and a belief that we could compete against any opposition and simply made every player better. He will be sorely missed."
ODI: 33 matches, 1541 runs, 67,00 avg (highest career batting avg in ODI)
T20I: 22 matches, 533 runs, 44,41 avg (4th highest career batting avg in T20I)
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