Hamish Bennett stakes claim for future selection after impressing in Ireland
Hamish Bennett has made his case - he's ready should the Black Caps need him for the Champions Trophy in England and Wales next month.
The 30-year-old snared 3-31 in the Black Caps' four-wicket win against Bangladesh in Dublin on Thursday morning (NZT), ensuring the Kiwis remained unbeaten in the one-day international tri-series, which also includes Ireland.
Fresh off an impressive Kiwi summer with the Wellington Firebirds, it was the former Timaru Boys' High School fast bowler's first match for the Black Caps in almost three and a half years.
He bowled with genuine pace on a wicket which didn't offer a heck of a lot, no doubt reminding the panel of selectors he's a serious option should either Trent Boult, TIm Southee, Adam Milne or Mitch McClenaghan break down.
Teams can change their 15-man squads for the Champions Trophy up until next Thursday.
After helping a playing XI, which only included six squad members for next month's tournament, restrict Bangladesh to 257-9, Bennett was upbeat about the future.
"It's a good thing for the lads who are going to Champions Trophy, and then the other guys who are unlucky not to be going to Champions Trophy to really put a stamp on and show the Black Caps staff why they should be in the team regularly," Bennett said.
"I think it's been a really beneficial exercise for not only the guys going to the Champions Trophy, but also for the Black Caps support staff, and the guys, I guess, on the fringe."
Bennett last played an ODI against India at the start of 2014, and has battled back, ankle and Achilles injuries throughout his career.
In a bid to rejuvenate his career, he moved from Canterbury to Wellington at the start of last summer, and went on to help the Firebirds win the domestic Twenty20 competition.
As good as he was for Wellington, he didn't expect to play for his country again.
"To be honest, I never thought I was going to get another game," Bennett said after his return on Thursday.
"I guess I burgled a few [wickets] at the end, which is always nice. You get lucky at the death, it either goes one way or the other.
"Luckily, it went my way today. My main job was just to try and attack, but on that slower surface it was just about trying to put the ball in good areas and try and make them play hard shots.
"I don't think it was a wicket where you were going to run in and try nick guys off, like you would typically in New Zealand, without the bounce."
Bennett, who now has 26 ODI wickets to his name, could get another crack against Ireland on Sunday night (NZT), but the Black Caps are expected to have Indian Premier League returnees Corey Anderson, Milne and Matt Henry available for selection.