February 09, 1983, Kimberley, Cape Province
Left hand bat
Right arm medium fast
An industrious allrounder, who is more accurate than quick, and also a valuable lower-order contributor, Ryan McLaren spent several seasons on the fringes of the South African squad before a short, sustained run in the mid-2010s.
McLaren first came to attention in the 2006-07 summer, when he averaged 43.50 with the bat in South Africa's 45-over domestic competition. With Jacques Kallis holding a monopoly over the allrounder's spot in the national side, McLaren struggled to break through and signed a Kolpak deal with Kent, where he blossomed. He took a hat-trick in the 2007 Twenty20 Cup final to help Kent win the trophy, and South Africa could not ignore him.
Despite remaining under contract with Kent, McLaren was called up for South Africa's ODI squad to face Kenya and Bangladesh in October 2008, but the county refused to release him. It appeared an international career would not be possible until he was released from his county contract at the end of the 2009 season, making him eligible for selection for South Africa.
He made both his ODI and T20 debut in November 2009 and his Test debut in January 2010. After he made headlines in May 2010, taking 5 for 19 in the first T20I on South Africa's tour of the Caribbean - the second-best figures in the format at the time - McLaren would have been hopeful of a lengthy international career.
However, he struggled to hold down a place in the national side until early 2013, when South Africa were forced to look for a replacement for Kallis, who was being rested from bilateral series and asked to sit out the Champions Trophy. McLaren proved an able substitute. In 2013, he played 27 ODIs, notched up his highest score of 71 and took 45 wickets at 23.77. He was South Africa's highest wicket-taker that year and fourth highest overall.
McLaren kept his place through most of 2014, although his form dipped. He had a poor limited-overs tour to Australia at the end of that year, which cost him a place in the 2015 World Cup squad. By then, he had played 54 ODIs, 12 T20Is and two Tests, and seemed to accept his international career was over.
He continued to play for Dolphins in the 2015-16 South African domestic season and signed with Hampshire for the 2016 county season. The following season he switched to Lancashire and, although not regarded as one of the most high-profile overseas players, his many virtues left a lasting impression in a successful all-round season.
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