NZ v SA

Guptill and Ronchi Set To Return Against South Africa

The Black Caps will welcome back both Martin Guptill and Luke Ronchi for the one-off twenty20 in Auckland and the ODI series which kicks off in Hamilton on February 19. 

Ronchi, New Zealand’s preferred limited-overs wicketkeeper has recovered from a groin injury that sidelined him during the Chappell-Hadlee series against Australia at home just recently. As expected, Ronchi replaces stand-in keeper Tom Blundell who was a reserve for the entirety of the three-match series, deciding against him and opting to go with Tom Latham who managed quite well as a part-timer. The 35-year-old has made a solid return to domestic cricket for Wellington in the lead up to the South African series, including a 63 against Canterbury along with four catches behind the stumps.

The big news for New Zealand is the return of one of International crickets most explosive batsman in the limited-overs format, Martin Guptill. After a strong start to the series in the first match in Auckland which saw Guptill score an impressive 61, it came at a cost as a hamstring injury sidelined the power-hitting opener for the remainder of the series. Fortunately for the Guptill and the Black Caps, it was only a minor tweak to the hamstring which could have been much more serious if not managed properly, risking him for the remainder of the series was simply not worth it. Out of form and finally handed his verdict on the chopping block, Colin Munro was axed for the upcoming home series against South Africa which is reasonably understandable after scores of 3 and 2 against Australia earlier this month.

The return of Luke Ronchi was a much-welcomed topic of conversation for the selectors as well. “It will be great to have Luke back in the mix. He’s the number one white-ball wicketkeeper in the country and brings considerable experience to the group” says New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen.

The first game of the series is the only twenty20 in Auckland on February 17, shortly followed by a five-match ODI series which starts February 19. The three-match test series will start on March 12 and run late into the month (March 29).

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