Brendon McCullum's back hands Ronchi gloves
Luke Ronchi's ticket into the New Zealand one-day team looks set to be extended after coach Mike Hesson confirmed skipper Brendon McCullum's wicketkeeping days were all but over.
New Zealand's ODI squad for the five-match series against West Indies will be named on Thursday, day one of the third test in Hamilton. And it seems Wellington gloveman Ronchi will continue the role he performed ably in Sri Lanka when McCullum was home nursing a serious back injury that still hampers him.
"We're unlikely to use him [McCullum] as a keeper. He's too valuable a player for us to consider using him as a keeper," Hesson said.
New Zealand reassemble in Hamilton today after they were given two days off by Hesson in the wake of their stunning innings and 73 run win over West Indies inside three days.
McCullum tasted his first test victory as skipper, after 10 previous matches without a win. After having serious thoughts about retirement as he struggled with two protruding discs and arthritis in his back, he battled through Dunedin and Wellington and scored a breakthrough century on his home ground. Hesson said McCullum remained a day-by-day proposition who required "constant maintenance".
"He still throws himself around in the field and puts himself in compromising positions. So far, so good.
"We'd only rest him if his back was at a point where he couldn't play. That could well occur. He's made some good progress. He's always a bit stiff but it doesn't seem to affect his movement too much."
Ronchi scored 13 not out against Bangladesh, and 49 and 23 against Sri Lanka in three ODI innings after being recalled. After McCullum he's the next best gloveman and will probably be required to bat seven in a clogged New Zealand middle order with a number of allrounders.
Hesson and Bruce Edgar, the general manager national selection, have a logjam of contenders for their ODI squad.
Opener Martin Guptill is certain to return after blazing 185 for Auckland against Central Districts, with Jesse Ryder a strong chance to partner him for the Boxing Day series opener in Auckland.
It's no secret the selectors are keen to bring Ryder back for his first international in nearly two years, having scored a century and two half-centuries from his past five first-class innings for Otago. He also trained with the test squad in Dunedin, and would provide huge box office value for New Zealand Cricket over the holiday period.