Versatile Otago a historic choice for New Zealand

Otago all-rounder Michael Rippon has become New Zealand cricket’s rarest phenomenon with his nomination for the limited run of overs against Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands.

The selection is rarer than Kane Williamson hitting a six in Tests, Neil Wagner missing the pectoral region on demand, or any of their countrymen bowling to win a limited overs match at the MCG.

Rippon is the first left-arm spinner chosen for the Black Caps in any format in its 92-year history.

All other left-arm exponents, such as Daniel Vettori, Hedley Howarth, Stephen Boock and more recently Ajaz Patel, have been of the orthodox rather than unorthodox variety.

Renowned practitioners of Rippon action throughout history include Australian Brad Hogg, Indian Kuldeep Yadav and, whenever the mood took him, West Indian Sir Garfield Sobers.

The art was once known as bowling a “Chinese”, but the term has recently been banned by most of the sport’s fraternity due to racist connotations.

Rippon is the only newcomer to the Black Caps white ball teams, although batsman and wicketkeeper Dane Cleaver has yet to play.

The 30-year-old will join the squad after the three one-day internationals against Ireland from July 10-15.

He first moved to New Zealand from South Africa in 2013 and, as a Dutch passport holder, has 31 caps to his name for the Netherlands, including all three ODIs against the Blacks. Caps in March.

The International Cricket Council’s eligibility rules allow players to represent an affiliated or associated nation while remaining available to play for a full member. The process is prohibited in reverse.

Coach Gavin Larsen says Rippon’s consistent performances domestically over many seasons earned him the call-up.

“His left arm wrist rotation is a point of difference and he also delivers a punch in order with the bat.

“We have a lot of spin options in teams and I’m sure both Michaels [Rippon and Michael Bracewell] will relish the chance to rub shoulders with Mitch [Santner] and Ich [Sodhi] and learn from their experience.

“Dane has earned his opportunity thanks to his solid form for the Central Stags, and it’s great to see his recent call-up to the England Test squad.”

Whichever New Zealand Cricket employee worked on the arrivals and departures of the rest of the teams deserves an honorary doctorate in logistics planning.

Tom Latham will captain the team in the ODI series against Ireland before heading home with Henry Nicholls, Matt Henry, Will Young and Jacob Duffy.

Mark Chapman, Jimmy Neesham, Daryl Mitchell and Ben Sears will join Rippon for the Ireland T20 series. Mitchell Santner will take over the Latham captaincy.

In keeping with NZC’s commitment to wellbeing, Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Devon Conway return home from testing in England. White ball’s tour of the West Indies in August is their likely next posting before the T20 World Cup in Australia in October and November.

Shane Jurgensen will lead the coaching staff for the Irish leg of the tour with support from Luke Ronchi and former England international Luke Wright, allowing regular mentor Gary Stead a break.

Jurgensen and Ronchi leave for home after Ireland, with Stead returning. He will be joined by Graeme Aldridge, Dean Brownlie and Wright for the Scotland, Netherlands and West Indies series.

Pacemaker Adam Milne has been selected for both sides, having featured in last year’s T20 World Cup, and could play his first ODI in almost five years. Glenn Phillips has been included in the 50+ team for the first time.

Finn Allen and Ben Sears are also a chance to make their ODI debuts.

“At the end of the English Series and in the midst of another busy year, these tours were always going to be an opportunity to further test our depth in white-ball cricket,” Larsen said.

He also noted that the inclusion of Cleaver meant there was no room for the titular T20 glovemaker, Tim Seifert.

“We know how dynamic a player Tim can be when he is at his best and we hope he can push his case for selection again.

“It’s nice to see the depth we’re developing behind the stumps with people like Tom Blundell and Cam Fletcher also in the discussion.”

The first group will leave for Ireland on July 3. The squad for the West Indies tour will be announced in the middle of next month.

New Zealand ODI squad for Ireland

Tom Latham* (c) (wk), Finn Allen, Michael Bracewell, Dane Cleaver (wk), Jacob Duffy*, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry*, Adam Milne, Henry Nicholls*, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Will Young*.
*departure post Ireland ODIs

New Zealand squad for Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands

Mitchell Santner (c), Finn Allen, Michael Bracewell, Mark Chapman*, Dane Cleaver (wk), Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Adam Milne, Daryl Mitchell*, Jimmy Neesham*, Glenn Phillips, Michael Rippon*, Ben Sears*, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner.

*join post-Irish ODIs

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