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Ronchi’s cricket return finally takes off

After a stuttering return to international cricket, two match-winning Twenty20 innings from Luke Ronchi have his career back on track.

 
 

The wicketkeeper-batsman, who played seven times for Australia before switching his allegiance last year to his country of birth, cracked an unbeaten 51 to steer New Zealand to a four-wicket win over the West Indies in Wellington.

It handed the hosts a 2-0 series win and came after Ronchi’s late onslaught to make an unbeaten 48 which was instrumental in the Black Caps’ 81-run victory in the opening game in Auckland.

He has been dismissed just once in four Twenty20 outings for New Zealand and averages 133 in that format but has struggled to assert himself in one-day internationals.

He has failed to get past 50 in his 13 ODI innings and his last dismissal came when he stepped on his stumps, leading to questions whether he was a better bet to keep wicket in the short format than Test incumbent BJ Watling.

“Before this series … guys were talking why he was there,” coach Mike Hesson said.

But Hesson was convinced the 32-year-old could turn things around after seeing him strike the ball cleanly in the nets for the past two months.

“He’s just needed a bit of luck. I think we were all expecting it,” he said.

Captain Brendon McCullum labelled Ronchi the difference between the two sides in the T20 series against the West Indies and the gloveman said it was important to have the backing of his skipper and coach during his lean trot.

“It’s been good to still have the faith of Brendon and Hess, and to put two good performances up in these games.

“It’s just confidence – it’s nice to know I can actually do it. I guess I’ve just got to stay consistent with it, stay nice and relaxed, and go out and play the way I play cricket.”

Ronchi has the chance to translate his T20 form into the one-day arena when New Zealand begin a five-match series against India in Napier on Sunday.

 
 

 

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