Nearly two years since he last donned the black helmet, Jesse Ryder is set to be given licence to light up Boxing Day with the endorsement of New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.
Ryder's name is expected to be among the 13 read out during the teabreak in the third test later today, in the squad for the first one-day international against West Indies, in Auckland, next Thursday.
The explosive left-hander last played for New Zealand in February 2012, against South Africa in Napier, before an array of off-field incidents intervened.
Most notable was a serious assault he suffered in Christchurch in March, then a subsequent six-month ban for taking a prohibited substance.
Since moving to Otago for a fresh start in October the runs flowed, and after a century and two 80s from his past five first-class innings, national coach Mike Hesson appears convinced enough to include the 29-year-old for his 40th ODI.
New Zealand Cricket's marketing department will be, too, given his unrivalled status in this country as a cricketing box office drawcard.
McCullum also believed Ryder was ready.
"I'm a big fan of Jesse. His move down to Otago was the right move for him at the time, and he's doing a great job of scoring runs which is the only currency we deal in.
"If he finds himself back in the environment we know he would have earned it and he'll be ready to go," McCullum said.
Ryder will likely open with Martin Guptill, whose return to white ball cricket was assured after he overcame ankle and finger injuries that ruled him out of New Zealand's tours of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
With McCullum not keeping wicket due to his bad back, Luke Ronchi is next cab off the rank with the gloves.
But a handful of others who played in the last ODI series in Sri Lanka last month face anxious waits.
Tom Latham and Anton Devcich, who opened in the final ODI in Dambulla, will find it tough to crack the side with Ryder and Guptill back, and batsmen Colin Munro and Grant Elliott may be jousting for one middle order spot.
All-rounders Corey Anderson and Jimmy Neesham both impressed in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and Hesson has said there is room for both in the same 11.
Nathan McCullum and Kane Williamson will offer the spin, then the pace bowling mix offers a few posers.
Test spearhead Trent Boult only has eight ODIs to his name but is keen to push for a World Cup spot, while Mitchell McClenaghan had a poor first tour of the sub-continent but will get his chance to atone in friendlier conditions.
The pacemen will all likely get their chance to impress with the white ball in coming weeks as their workloads are managed, with 10 ODIs almost back-to-back against West Indies and India.
The squad will be re-selected after the second ODI in Napier on December 29.
Possible New Zealand one-day squad: Brendon McCullum (captain), Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Colin Munro, Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Nathan McCullum, Tim Southee, Kyle Mills, Mitchell McClenaghan
- © Fairfax NZ News
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