Sole Survivor: Wesley Barresi's Remarkable Indian Summer Story


Sole Survivor: Wesley Barresi’s Remarkable Indian Summer Story

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Reflecting on his illustrious 14-year international cricket career, seasoned Netherlands cricketer Wesley Barresi acknowledges that he has few regrets. However, he humorously admits to an amusing misjudgment regarding a young Virat Kohli. Barresi recalls, “Maybe I got slightly cocky that night, but looking at that Indian team, they had superstars galore, and Kohli was the youngster, the timing was perfect to hand out a bit of stick. He certainly proved us wrong.”

Barresi readily concedes that he delivered a send-off to the emerging star as Kohli was heading back to the pavilion after scoring only 12 runs, “bowled by one of Peter Borren’s powder puffs.” The incident occurred during India’s pursuit of the Netherlands’ modest 189-run target at the 2011 World Cup in Delhi. Barresi reflects, “It was all part of the moment, and we were fired up. We had them on the ropes, they were three or four down, so we felt like we were in the game a little. It was an excellent opportunity to knock India over in India. The atmosphere and everything that was going on spurred us on a bit, and we might have gotten ahead of ourselves.”

Despite their brief moment of success, the Dutch team couldn’t maintain the pressure. India eventually won the match, went on to claim the World Cup, while the Netherlands returned home without a win.

Nevertheless, the 2011 World Cup, particularly the match against India, remains one of Barresi’s cherished memories. He recalls the electrifying atmosphere in the stadium, saying, “The stadium was completely packed and painted blue everywhere. I just remember standing behind the stumps and seeing Sachin Tendulkar right in front of me.”

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Barresi, now 39, is the sole member of that 2011 Netherlands squad to return to India for their first 50-over World Cup in over a decade. His journey, both on and off the field, has been marked by unexpected turns.

Born in Johannesburg, Barresi initially pursued cricket without lofty aspirations of representing a national team. He explains, “I have to be honest with you, I loved playing the game so much, I just wanted to be the best I could be. But I wouldn’t say I ever had goals to represent a country and play in a World Cup. It just wasn’t on my mind.”

His path took an unexpected turn when he had the opportunity to play for Hilversum CC in the Netherlands during a summer. Initially, he saw it as a potential stepping stone to a career in England. However, his love for Europe and the Netherlands, in particular, led him to return in 2006 and make a life-changing decision. Barresi confesses, “I didn’t even know that the Dutch had a national cricket team when I first came over.”

His international journey officially began in July 2009 when he made his debut for the Netherlands in a home fixture against Canada. Over time, he developed into a key player, with memorable moments such as his match-winning innings against Bangladesh in 2010. However, the Dutch team’s fortunes fluctuated, and they faced challenges in the competitive world of associate cricket.

One pivotal moment came when they missed direct qualification for the 2015 World Cup. Barresi recalls, “Back then, we were just a group of guys who loved playing the game and didn’t really think about teamwork or being a unit.” Relegation to the second division of the World Cricket League marked a low point.

Nevertheless, the Netherlands embarked on a determined climb back up the cricketing ladder, winning key tournaments and eventually regaining ODI status. Barresi credits much of this success to coach Anton Roux and their collective effort.

Despite the team’s resurgence, Barresi faced personal challenges and self-doubt, which led to his decision to step away from international cricket due to mental health issues. He kept his struggles private until recently, explaining, “The cricket environment I was in at the time didn’t contribute much positivity to my life, and I was slowly drowning and trying to fight myself every day.”

His return to the national team in 2022 marked a fresh start. Though results were not ideal, Barresi was thrilled to be back in the fold and noticed a significant shift in the team’s culture and professionalism. He believes there’s still room for personal growth as a cricketer.

In conclusion, Wesley Barresi’s international cricket journey has been filled with highs and lows. Despite facing personal challenges, he has found renewed motivation and a sense of belonging in the Dutch national team. At 39, he looks forward to continuing his cricketing career, describing it as an “Indian Summer,” indicating that there are more chapters to be written in his remarkable story.


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