Birthday special: Luke Ronchi – An under-rated wicketkeeper-batter

Luke Ronchi’s international career had to be divided into two parts, one in which he did not get recognition while the second phase was quite the way it should have been at first. The New Zealand-born lad was raised in Australia and he was the first player since Kepler Wessels nearly 20 years earlier to represent two full ICC member nations.

Ronchi made his international debut for Australia in 2008 but lost his place in the side after a few games due to poor form and subsequently lost his place in Western Australia as well. He made a comeback to the country where he was born representing New Zealand in 2013. Since then, he has seen a turnaround.

Establishing himself as a lower-order batter, Ronchi was given the glovework for New Zealand and in 2014, while playing against Sri Lanka, he made the highest score by a batter playing at No.7 as the right-hander struck an unbeaten 170 off just 99 deliveries, which included 14 fours and nine sixes. Interestingly it was the only century from the wicketkeeper batter in an international century alongside seven half-centuries.

He made his Test debut for New Zealand in 2015, but his big achievement came in the same year during World Cup where New Zealand qualified for the final. Overall, Ronchi was among the aggressive batters who can pile up pressure on the bowler and he was one of the better wicketkeepers as well.

He announced his retirement from international cricket in 2017, and post that he played in different parts of the world in T20 tournaments. He represented the nation in four Tests, 85 ODIs, and 33 T20Is, but was certainly one of New Zealand’s most underrated cricketers.