Dutch cricket suffered a significant blow this weekend with the retirement from the international game of left-handed top-order batter Ben Cooper at the age of 29.
Cooper made his decision public on social media, writing that ‘it has been an absolute honour and privilege to don the oranges and represent the Netherlands for the last eight years.’
Like his elder brother Tom, who played for the Netherlands between 2010 and 2016, Cooper was entitled to a Dutch passport through his mother, who was born in former Dutch New Guinea (now part of Indonesia).
Playing 127 times for the Netherlands across all formats, Ben made his debut in a Yorkshire Bank 40 match against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in 2013 and played for the last time in the World T20 Cup game against Sri Lanka in Sharjah last October.
In all, Cooper compiled 2954 runs at an average of 28.68, 1239 of them in T20 Internationals, a format in which he is the Netherlands’ highest scorer.
Cooper scored 17 fifties and two centuries, the higher of them an unbeaten 173 against Hong Kong in an Intercontinental Cup match at Mission Road in February 2017, an innings in which he shared an unbroken, record-setting sixth-wicket stand of 288 with Pieter Seelaar. The partnership started with their side on 105 for five and enabled them to save the game.
Ten months later he was involved in another big partnership, this time in Windhoek in the WCL Championship.
He memorably made 109 not out with Wesley Barresi 120, putting on 236 together for the second wicket and the Dutch went on to beat Namibia by eight wickets and make sure of the single Associates spot in the new (and, it seems, regrettably short-lived) Super League.
In Dutch domestic cricket Cooper has played 107 times for VRA Amsterdam, making 3619 runs at 38.09, including eight centuries and 18 fifties.
His most successful season was his first in 2013, when he hit 866 runs at 54.12 and became VRA’s first top-flight double-centurion with a brutal 132-ball knock of 202 against Hermes-DVS in Amstelveen, which included 26 fours and five sixes.
Announcing his retirement the Adelaide-based Cooper added: ‘It’s been a time filled with amazing highs, special moments and tough lows. There’s nothing I would change about it and will look back at my time with very very fond memories.
‘KNCB, thank you for the opportunity to live out a childhood ream. To my Netherlands teammate and coaches (past and present) I thank you all for the amazing memories and couldn’t ask for better people to share the field and change rooms with.
‘I have no doubt the current squad and the talent coming through will continue to achieve great things for Dutch cricket.’
The high regard in which Cooper is held by teammates and opponents alike was evident from the flood of good wishes which rapidly appeared on his social media accounts.
Dutch national men’s coach Ryan Campbell told Emerging Cricket on Saturday: ‘Losing Ben is a massive blow to Dutch cricket.
‘He has been class at the top of the order and guys like that are tough to replace. His hundred against Namibia in the WCL match that secured us Super League qualification will be remembered by us all forever.
‘I wish him well in the next stage of his life.’
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