Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Ronchi Relishing Black Caps Reunion With Santner And Henry

Ronchi Relishing Black Caps Reunion With Santner And Henry

Luke Ronchi can't wait to make his Birmingham Bears home debut in the NatWestT20Blast against Worcestershire Rapids tomorrow – especially as it will bring something of a Black Caps reunion.

Ronchi will line-up for Birmingham with fellow Kiwi and long-time Bears favourite Jeetan Patel again a Rapids team including Black Caps aces Mitchell Santner and Matt Henry.

The West Midlands NatWestT20Blast derby is always one of the big occasions of the Edgbaston season.

Stir in the presence of four players from New Zealand, whose limited-overs cricket of late has often been scintillating, and the stage is set for a mouth-watering setting for Ronchi's home bow.

"I can't wait," he said. "The crowds really came out for the first T20 of the season at Notts last week, that was fantastic and it was great that we started with a win, so now I'm really looking forward to Friday. It will be a big crowd so hopefully we can get another win under our belts.

"There are a couple of Kiwis in the Rapids team so that's another ingredient in the mix. It's been a fantastic time to be involved with New Zealand cricket in the last year or so with Brendon McCullum making a massive difference and now Kane Williamson taking over and doing the same. It is just exciting to be part of and hopefully we can keep it going for a good few years yet."

The Black Caps' resurgence has had significant input from wicketkeeper/batsman Ronchi whose career is flowering late.

He made his Test debut, aged 34, for New Zealand last season, fully vindicating his decision to move from Australia, whom he had represented in limited-overs internationals.

A stint in English county cricket was also a long time coming before he joined Somerset last season to play in the NatWestT20Blast and then the last four championship matches, including the final one of the season, against the Bears at Taunton, in which he struck a run-a-ball half-century.

"Not many wicketkeepers play as overseas players but it's something that I had always wanted to do," he said.

"The chance arose last year with us touring England and then I leaped at the opportunity and again this year. When the Bears came in for me I was never going to say no.

"I played for Somerset in some of the T20 and then the last month of the championship and played against Warwickshire in the last game so it was a funny feeling coming into the home dressing-room here. But it's been great fun to get over here, get involved and meet the guys."