'I want to stay involved with Netherlands' - ten Doeschate

'Associate cricket is getting stronger' - ten Doeschate (1:38)

Ryan ten Doeschate says it's time for the ICC to look again at opportunities for Associates after seeing a significantly improved standard at the World Cup Qualifier (1:38)

Ryan ten Doeschate says that he remains committed to his return to international cricket with the Netherlands - in spite of their failure to qualify for the 2019 World Cup - because the standard of Associate cricket is unrecognisable from the levels it was at when he walked away from selection in 2011.

Ten Doeschate, who will lead Essex's defence of the County Championship title when their first game gets underway at Headingley next week, recently returned from the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe. Although he signed off from the tournament with an unbeaten 67 not out in a rain-affected loss against West Indies, Netherlands failed to progress from the group stages following earlier defeats against Ireland and UAE.

Despite that disappointment, however, ten Doeschate said that, subject to availability, his appetite had been whetted for further international campaigns. His initial return to the fray had come in a two-match outing against Namibia in the UAE last November, when the cancellation of South Africa's Global T20 league provided him with a rare window of opportunity. And having encountered a team whose standards have been transformed since the 2011 World Cup, he is eager to stay involved after his six-year hiatus.

"I had a great time in Dubai, the team has changed so much, and the standard of Associate cricket has improved so much," ten Doeschate told ESPNcricinfo. "I can't explain how different it is to six years ago, and of course there was the big carrot of qualifying for another World Cup.

"I was asked to go along but it didn't work out, it was a very tough competition, but the Dutch team, and Associate cricket in general, is moving in the right direction and it's something I want to be a part of again."

In keeping with the sentiments expressed by many of the tournament's leading players, including Zimbabwe's Sikandar Raza and Ireland's Will Porterfield, ten Doeschate criticised the ICC's decision to reduce the 2019 World Cup to a ten-team affair.

However, he did concede that he could understand how the decision might have been reached back in 2011, when momentous Associate triumphs - such as Ireland's World Cup victory over England at Bangalore - were still a rarity at the highest level.

"Six years ago, those moments of euphoria were few and far between, but it's my suggestion now that you won't have the massive gulf between Associates and Test nations, which is why it's time to look at it again."

Despite West Indies' achievement in coming through the Qualifier to secure their World Cup place alongside Afghanistan, ten Doeschate said that the fact they were made to work so hard throughout the tournament was a testament to those transformed standards.

"It was a great competition and probably the stand-out thing for me was that you didn't see the West Indies piling into a lot of teams," he said. "Six years ago, you would have had a lot of cases where they'd have got 350 and the Associate team would have been bowled out for 120-30. That wasn't the case, and personally I felt some of our toughest games were against the Associates. Maybe it's time to see if we can fit in more Associate games with the Test nations.

"You saw the emotion from the Zimbabwe, Ireland and Scottish guys. They spoke well about their ambitions and how it felt not to go to the World Cup. It's time to look at the difference in standards and how it's been closed, and see how serious we are as a cricket community about growing the game and what concessions we can make to get more teams and players involved."

The concern now, of course, is that the reduction of places at the elite events will reduce the incentives for the Associate nations to keep improving their standards. Ten Doeschate, however, doesn't believe that that will necessarily be the case.

"It would make sense that the [gap will grow] but credit to the Associate teams for how they've closed the gap in the last five or six years," he said. "It doesn't have to be that way. Judging from what I saw in Zimbabwe, don't expect the Associate teams not to try as hard as they've been trying, and not to keep improving.

"It needs a good relook. Let's take a step back and really assess what we have decided as a cricket communty and see if we can change that."