June 19, 2010

Twenty20

The ten Doeschate issue, and cider-like skies

Andrew Hughes


'Right lads, winter's over in Narnia. I'm needed there for a spot of cricket' © Getty Images
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If I were paid by the word I would write Ryan ten Doeschate as often as possible. Sadly, I am not and so I will refer to him as RTD. Before Wednesday’s televised Twenty20 game, RTD said that whilst he was flattered that some were talking up his chances of playing for England, he felt he was South African. There then ensued a debate between Charles Colville and Robert Croft that was a pleasant conversational excursion through the thorny maze of cricket nationality. It went a little like this.

Croft: I find it refreshing that he’s said he doesn’t want to play for England, that he feels South African and only wants to play for South Africa.

Colville: But he’s been playing for Holland

Croft: Well, you can’t blame him for taking the opportunity.

Indeed not. It appears that you can have your biltong and Edam soup and eat it too. Croft of course, is a Welshman who played for England and who bristles at any suggestion that he might be described as an Englishman. It is all rather confusing. Perhaps, since England is a country that in many ways does not exist, we should go further and have it registered alongside Narnia as an entirely mythical realm, thus allowing anyone with access to a wardrobe to be considered for selection.

But whoever he happens to be playing for, RTD is an entertainer, his nimble-footed assays down the pitch and his whirring arms making him Twenty20 box office. In recent times though, the rest of the Essex chorus line have not been pulling their weight. After a thrilling performance was cut short by a calf injury that will stop him turning out for Essex, Holland, South Africa or Narnia for several weeks, Eagles fans, if such people exist, might have expected another disappointing show.

But they were wrong. Essex were "pumped up" as the experts put it, which I understand is a euphemism for "trying really hard" rather than an aspersion that they might be on steroids or wearing inflatable shoes. Kaneria sent Pollard off with some un-Parliamentary language and after taking a catch in the shade of the pavilion, Grant Flower showed off his right bicep in a threatening fashion to a section of the Somerset crowd. At least, I think he was showing off his bicep.

Throughout the debacle, Poor Marcus Trescothick sat helpless in the Somerset dug out. He’d done his bit. Although no longer cutting a dash in the field (his pursuit of one leg glance looked like a middle-aged man trying to catch a runaway puppy) he had helped to lay what is known in the game as a "platform"; a platform from which his chaps proceeded to launch themselves like black-clad lemmings. As the wickets fell, there was even time for a touch of comedy, courtesy of Nick Compton who added to the game’s repertoire of Twenty20 innovations by reverse-sweeping his own bails off.

Still, at the post match sit-down with microphones, even Trescothick was smiling. And why not. Taunton looks a thoroughly lovely place to witness cricket. The game had begun in bright sunlight and every time the ball soared into the sky, we were afforded a glimpse of the sandstone tower of St James Church against various shades of blue. As spectators sizzled, the sun sank and the evening came on by discreet shades so that by the end, the midsummer light had softened to a mellow amber; the colour in fact, of a decent glass of cider.

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Posted by blogs.espncricinfo.com on (June 17, 2011, 18:53 GMT)

The_ten_doeschate_issue_and_ci.. He-he-he :)

Posted by Mark on (June 23, 2010, 14:58 GMT)

Thanks for the article Andrew, really nice. Taunton IS a lovely place to watch cricket, enjoy it every time I am there (even if it rains there is a nice restaurant which, also overlooks the action).

Posted by chaminda on (June 20, 2010, 6:13 GMT)

wow! super article and very entertaining. A well written article with just the right amount of humour. Super!

Posted by McFly on (June 20, 2010, 1:49 GMT)

"Nick Compton who added to the game’s repertoire of Twenty20 innovations by reverse-sweeping his own bails off." Absolute gold.

Posted by Pat A on (June 19, 2010, 22:05 GMT)

Er - I thought Narnia was real and the wardrobe was mythical...

Posted by david kirkup on (June 19, 2010, 14:14 GMT)

the guy can please himself if he says hes SA then so be it. perhaps his parents/grand parents were not born in the UK. the guy is quite happy to make a living in the UK for the last 9 years and keep a guy out of the game who wants to play his cricket for england i get fed up with cricketers from other countries just abusing the system. dpk

Posted by MvO on (June 19, 2010, 14:02 GMT)

Sadly, I missed the end of this match because I was watching footie on another channel. However, you have evoked it beautifully - thank you. The presence of RtenD in the Dutch team is always a huge boost and I hope he continues to play for them and not turn "traitor" like that other native of the Netherlands, Dirk Nannes. Associate cricket needs its stars.

Posted by Auchi, Sri Lanka on (June 19, 2010, 13:29 GMT)

Really well written.

Posted by stringbok on (June 19, 2010, 12:10 GMT)

Andrew for your information Eagles fans do exist as the away players who field at long leg at Chelmsford T20 games will confirm.

And what's more we know where you live.......

Posted by James on (June 19, 2010, 8:49 GMT)

Nice job, funniest thing i've read in a long time!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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