Cricket: Low-key approach to 100th game

Dutch international Ryan ten Doeschate: ''If you had told me six or seven years ago I'd play 100 games, I wouldn't have believed you and I don't think many people would have.'' Photo by Adrian Seconi.
Dutch international Ryan ten Doeschate: ''If you had told me six or seven years ago I'd play 100 games, I wouldn't have believed you and I don't think many people would have.'' Photo by Adrian Seconi.
Dutch international Ryan ten Doeschate could have played his 100th first-class game for Essex when he rejoins his county for the English summer.

Instead, he will forgo all the pomp and pageantry and raise the milestone playing for Otago against Central Districts in a Plunket Shield match at the University Oval.

It is a huge achievement in a player's career but ten Doeschate would prefer the celebrations were low-key.

Still, the South African-born all-rounder is thrilled to have reached the mark.

''I'm not one for stats, really,'' he told the Otago Daily Times.

''But if you had told me six or seven years ago I'd play 100 games, I wouldn't have believed you and I don't think many people would have.

''I was aware I was on 99 and was looking forward to playing at Essex. But because I'm not so sentimental, I'm just looking forward to having another crack here [today].''

The 32-year-old all-rounder signed with Otago to play in the domestic twenty/20 tournament and made an immediate impact with a fine innings of 65 from 45 deliveries. He could have sat out the next week waiting for that competition to resume but is keen to contribute.

''I like to go under the radar and just get on with my thing, so I hope they haven't got anything planned.''

For a player of his calibre, that would be a great shame. Ten Doeschate has a quite remarkable first-class record. He has scored 5863 runs at an average of 46.90, including 18 hundreds, and has taken 173 wickets at 33.87.

His one-day record is even more impressive. In 147 games, he has scored 3840 runs at 45.17 and taken 135 wickets at 29.39.

Arguably, though, it is as a twenty/20 player he has really found his niche. His ability to win games with either the ball or the bat make him a highly sought-after player.

Two years ago, he played for Canterbury and was rightly named MVP. He scored 284 runs at 40.57 and took 12 wickets at 17.66.

It might come as a surprise to anyone who saw some of those performances, but ten Doeschate felt like he was not on top of his game.

''It was very different, coming from the very professional environment [at Essex] to seeing the reality of New Zealand cricket.

''I don't mean that in a derogatory way. It is just a fact of life that the resources and facilities are not available here like they are in England.

''It was a bit of a struggle. The game is not all about stats and I just felt I didn't play very well in that series.

''As a player, you know when you are playing well and I think it is important to feel like you are playing well. I actually feel like I'm playing well at the moment, so that is a good sign for me.''

And for Otago. Ten Doeschate's record suggests he will make a positive impact of some kind during the next four days.

His decision to throw his kit bag in with the Dutch team in 2006 means he will never get to play test cricket. But it is not a decision he regrets.

''I bloomed quite late as a cricketer and I wasn't getting a crack in South Africa, for no reason other than I wasn't good enough at the time. The chance came up to go to England. I could use my Dutch passport to play and from there it was just a natural step.

''I wanted to play in world cups and get the chance to travel to countries and Dutch cricket supported me in that opportunity.

''I don't feel hard done by and am delighted with what I've been able to achieve in first-class cricket.''

Central Districts has made one change to the team that lost to Wellington by seven wickets last week. Bevan Small comes into the 12 for Ben Smith.


Plunket Shield
University Oval, starts today

Otago: Aaron Redmond, Hamish Rutherford, Neil Broom, Ryan ten Doeschate, Sam Wells, Michael Bracewell, Mark Craig, Ian Butler, Neil Wagner, Nick Beard, Jacob Duffy, Iain Robertson.

Central Districts: Jamie How, Jeet Raval, Carl Cachopa, Mathew Sinclair, Will Young, Kruger van Wyk, Peter Trego, Roald Badenhorst, Ajaz Patel, Andrew Lamb, Andrew Mathieson, Bevan Small.