Photo Credit: Cricket Netherlands
Robine Rijke wintered in New Zealand in 2022-2023 and reaped the benefits last season. Among other things, she impressed with a career-best 83 against Thailand, which is higher in the ICC rankings than the Netherlands. The Quick Hg all-rounder puts everything aside for cricket.
How did you get into cricket?
My brother started playing football at Quick when he was five. Tip-and-run games were organized there for small children. I went there with my brother and absolutely loved it!
What has particularly helped your development as a player?
I played a season abroad twice. First in Australia together with Sterre Kalis and last winter in New Zealand. I have gained many new insights from other coaches and players abroad. Everyone plays in his/her own way, which I can learn from for my own playing. I have also gained a lot of experience through the amount of competitions on grass. In Australia the club level was very high, I played with girls who played WBBL and now even for the Australian national team. In New Zealand, in addition to the club competition, I trained with the Canterbury Magicians and had one-on-one bowling sessions with Dayle Hadlee, which really helped me make enormous strides. Living and playing abroad has pushed me out of my comfort zone and grown both as a cricketer and as a person. Next winter I will go to an academy in India and plan to spend a few more months playing cricket in Australia in preparation for the World Cup Qualifier in the UAE.
Who do you talk to most about cricket?
My teammates from the Dutch national team and Quick are also good friends of mine. Off the field, everything related to cricket is of course discussed in detail. Yet I talk most about cricket with my friend, who also plays for Quick.
What is your best/fun cricketing memory so far?
It is difficult to choose one memory, I have had so many wonderful experiences through the sport. High on the list of great memories are the tours abroad with the Dutch national team. I have already been to Thailand, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Spain, Ireland, Scotland and England.
If I had to choose a specific moment, I would go for the first ODI this summer against Thailand. We had been to Thailand a few months before for a tour where we lost back-to-back games badly. My own performance wasn’t anything to write home about either. This match was again the first of a busy international cricket summer and we started straight away against such a strong opponent. Now we had home advantage and that worked out well: we won! I myself had both my best ODI bowling and batting figures with 83 runs and 3 for 30 in ten overs. Both personally and for the team this was a really great day and the start of a successful summer of cricket.
What steps can the Netherlands still take on the way to ‘the next level’?
We can still make quite a few steps to become more professional. So I think a specific batting/bowling/fielding coach would help us a lot. This gives us more time to work one-on-one with a coach. I also think that we as a team would benefit greatly from a sports psychologist. Furthermore, we need more financial resources to focus more on cricket. Now everyone has studies and jobs besides sports. After players have finished studying, combining top sport with a full-time job is a major challenge and many players quit. I think this is a shame: the team keeps losing players with skills, years of experience and consistency. In order to move forward, we have to stay together and build with this team.
How do you estimate the Netherlands’ chances for the Global Qualifier?
We have played good, competitive cricket this summer. We won convincingly against countries that are ranked higher than us, such as Thailand and Scotland, and played exciting matches against Ireland. About half of our team will be playing cricket abroad this winter. Living and playing cricket abroad is an unforgettable experience that I wish all my teammates. In addition, it is great for us as a team that everyone invests in their own cricket and can take those experiences and knowledge to the World Cup Qualifier. We have a team full of talent and skills, we are going to the UAE to ‘compete’.