ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features
England v Netherlands, Group B, World Cup 2011, Nagpur
ten Doeschate sets inspiring example
Ryan ten Doeschate's ability and professionalism shone through in his all-round performance against England
Nagraj Gollapudi at the VCA Stadium
February 22, 2011
At the mid-innings break Ryan ten Doeschate, a little weary after scoring the second-highest individual score (119) by an Associate player, said he was a touch disappointed because he could've done more. He need not have bothered. Today he played as a consummate batsman: his timing, his placement, his foot movement, his reflexes, his smart working of the field worked magnificently. There were no mis-hits, instead he played on the mistakes, of which there many, committed by the England bowlers.
It was an interesting scenario for the Netherlands and ten Doeschate. The Dutch, who rarely play against the top nations, could have started with a nothing-to-lose mindset. But for ten Doeschate, the ICC's Associate Player of the Year, there was a lot to stand up to. The South Africa-born ten Doeschate was adopted by Essex and brought to England by Graham Gooch, who was taken by his desire and dedication. ten Doeschate worked hard to improve his limited skills, and his discipline to do the things the right way paid off as he became indispensable at Essex as a batting allrounder. Today he had another chance show the world his talent.
He understood quickly it was a batting pitch and that the ball was coming slow on to the bat. The key was to not rush. With Graeme Swann and Paul Collingwood operating, it would've been tempting to charge them. But ten Doeschate remained patient. It did not matter he had not scored a run off his first 11 deliveries. The next one, angled down the leg side by Collingwood, ten Doeschate moved in and deflected it neatly past the fine-leg ropes for his first four.
The middle overs were the biggest litmus test for the Dutch because if they had failed to get the right sort of tempo in that interval, the platform raised earlier would have fallen down easily. "I did not strike well off the first 20 balls. The deck was very good but slightly slow," ten Doeschate said later. But he did not allow panic to set in. Courtesy Messrs Anderson and Pietersen, who failed to lap up an easy catch when he was on 47 against Swann, ten Doeschate got to his fifty quietly. The crowd was unaware.
The boundaries dried up between the overs 17 and 23 and then again between 26 and 35. But not a single opportunity was missed to rotate the strike. That agility put pressure on England, who were shocking in the field. Swann had bowled eight overs and had controlled ten Doeschate admirably. In Swann's penultimate over, ten Doeschate finally got in a good position to hit a handsome six over deep midwicket. The frustration of the dropped catch in the previous over got to Swann and he kicked the ground in disgust.
Swann's exit allowed the Dutch to assume control. Anderson and Collingwood returned and were erratic. The Dutch cleverly delayed taking the batting Powerplay, which they eventually went for in the 43rd over. Fifty runs were looted in those five overs for the loss of just one wicket and ten Doeschate's contribution was 26. In the end a stiff target was raised. England, as Andrew Strauss, declared later were "shell-shocked".
If England were still confident, it was because of the flat pitch and the modest Dutch bowling. But it was once again ten Doeschate who bowled wicket to wicket mostly and kept a fuller length to deny England any easy route to victory. He had the larger say in the field settings and constantly egged the bowlers to bowl a disciplined line. But he knew even 293 was not going to be sufficient.
"We got the pace slightly wrong in the middle overs," ten Doeschate said. "We thought 230-240 would be good score, so we set our marker to 270 but if we had worked a little harder, may be, we could have got to 310. When we do come across a good deck like that and when you do get a good team on the back foot you do need to put your foot on the gas a bit early."
You could sense how deep the loss had hurt him. But he couldn't do much. He was disappointed with the Dutch bowling but was not complaining. The frustrations of playing with a mostly-amateur side were obvious. Therefore, ten Doeschate's century today is an important one. Also the timing cannot be lost: the ICC have all but told the Associates that their time is up in the World Cup. The moot question is how do we measure a performance like ten Doeschate's today? He played like a professional, locked horns with a superior opposition and came out on top.
At 30, ten Doeschate is too old to use an innings like today's to audition himself for England or South Africa. But today he was not pondering about his future. "Personally it is about as close to a perfect innings as I want to play in one-day cricket," he said. "As a team we can take so much away from the game: not only my hundred, other guys, too, scrapped 180 runs together at a pretty good whack. We want to play brave cricket and not worry about the outcome and tonight was a perfect example of that."
At the end of it all one picture remained fresh. Two men sat on their haunches at one corner of the pitch. Peter Borren had his head down. ten Doeschate was consoling him. The feeling on being so near, yet so far, could not escape their minds. The roles in that picture should have been reversed - Borren, the Netherlands captain, putting his arm across ten Doeschate, the man who had cracked one of the best centuries coming from an Associate nation, and later bowled with intensity despite suffering cramps at the halfway stage.
But ten Doeschate, one of the only three professionals in the Dutch squad, knows the rest of the players look up to him for guidance and inspiration. He had not let them down. He will do his best in the last five matches the Netherlands play in a World Cup.
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