Ronchi set for Black Caps bow

20 December 2012 08:12:41 EST

Luke Ronchi could be handed his New Zealand debut in next month's one-day internationals against South Africa.

The 31-year-old left Perth earlier this year to pursue an international future with New Zealand and he could be included in the Black Caps' squad to face the Proteas, after hitting a rich vein of form for Wellington.

He's a class act in terms of his glovework and it's good to see him scoring runs.

Kim Littlejohn

Ronchi took a shine to the Northern Districts bowlers at Karori Park, smashing 113 off 94 balls, then backed it up with an unbeaten 62 in the second innings.

The gloveman's century against ND was his second in four innings for the Firebirds.

Ronchi played seven limited overs matches for Australia, the last of those in January 2009.

International Cricket Council regulations stipulate a four-year stand-down for change of allegiance, and Ronchi holds a New Zealand passport.

New Zealand selection manager Kim Littlejohn believes the ICC will rubber-stamp his eligibility for his native country - Ronchi was born in Dannevirke - in time for him to be considered for the opening ODI in Paarl on 20th January.

"It's our understanding that from January 13 he becomes eligible to play for New Zealand," Littlejohn said. "Once he's available he'll come into the mix and we'll look at it when we put that side together."

He added: "He's a class act in terms of his glovework and it's good to see him scoring runs."

Ronchi is hopeful of earning selection, but determined to do his best to nudge selectors by making runs.

"If it happens [South Africa], hopefully it does but there's a lot of cricket between now and then," Ronchi said. "That's all you can do is make runs and keep well.

"I've dropped a few sitters in the last two games that I shouldn't be dropping so I've got to get that right.

"As long as I'm consistent with my keeping and making runs you've got to put pressure on whoever's in that position."

New Zealand are 11/1 to beat South Africa in the T20 series, with the Proteas priced at 1/66.

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