New Delhi, Sep 22: Kolkata Knight Riders' Dutch import Ryan ten Doeschate has lauded skipper Gautam Gambhir for his poise and he believes that the IPL champions have a realistic chance of making the semi-finals of the ongoing Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20).
"He (Gautam Gambhir) is brilliant. He has given me a lot of confidence as a player. He has showed faith in me. Gautam is pretty quiet and I believe that you don't need to be loud. You don't need to talk a lot and throw your weight around. So I think he is a very good captain," ten Doeschate told PTI in an interview.
KKR, who stretched their winning streak to 11 after yesterday's three-wicket triumph against Lahore Lions, courtesy a 47-ball 60 by Gambhir, are looking strong contenders for the title and ten Doeschate, with an impactful 51 not out in the opening game against Chennai Super Kings, has his fingers crossed.
"I think we are a good side. But in T20, every team makes sure that there are no easy matches. To our advantage, we have won a big competition in recent times and hope to take the momentum forward. So we draw from that experience and hope to keep the winning habit going. So once we reach the semifinals we will give ourselves a chance to win the competition," said ten Doeschate.
The Netherlands batsman rose to fame after his superb ton in the 50-over 2011 World Cup that nearly shocked England. Though it's hard to make an impact with a associate nation side but ten Doeschate is happy with the opportunities at hand.
"I had played county cricket before that so I had made a name for myself at first-class level in domestic and one-day cricket. But playing for the Netherlands was always a big opportunity to make a bigger name for myself against big teams. Scoring a hundred really makes people sit up and recognise that there are players from the associate nations who can play well," he said.
Ten Doeschate became the first associate player to be picked by an IPL side after KKR pocketed him in 2011. The batsman though was not a regular in the XI until recently, but the Dutch star has no regrets.
"This is the best level in T20 cricket that I can play. And it's a massive privilege to be part of a tournament like IPL and a side like KKR. I am delighted that I have been given an opportunity. And it's always nice to be with the big names and big stars, so you just tread along and try and contribute the best you can. I know I am a fringe player and have no qualms about playing that role, rather I have enjoyed playing that role," he said.
The South African-born player always nurtured a dream to play for the rainbow nation but destiny had other ideas. The batting all-rounder though still looks back with some nostalgia.
"I always wanted to play for South Africa. I was born and brought up there and my dream was to represent the country. But the way things worked out, by the time I finished studying, I was cutting through into the domestic circuit even in South Africa.
"So I took up the choice of playing in England and that worked out rather nicely. But in that, I missed my dream of playing for a Test nation particularly for my home nation South Africa," he said.
After making his debut in 2006, ten Doeshcate could only manage 33 ODIs and nine T20 Internationals in a scattered Dutch schedule. But the 34-year-old still hopes to carry on for another set of years.
"I still feel that I am improving as a cricketer, which is a good thing. I hit the professional scene pretty late so I am probably 26 or 28 in terms of my cricket age. I have been around for 5-6 years and I still feel fresh and hope there is a bit of longevity to my career. I am still very ambitious and keen to keep going for the next 4-5 years," he said.