Cricket: One step at a time enough for Ronchi

By David Leggat

Aim is to be NZ's long-term one-day keeper.

Luke Ronchi. Photo / Getty Images
Luke Ronchi. Photo / Getty Images

Luke Ronchi is taking care not to get ahead of himself in his bid to become New Zealand's long-term one-day wicketkeeper.

With his Australian days - three T20 and four ODI internationals in 2008-09 - well behind him, Ronchi has first dibs on the job.

So far it's been a battle. In 11 ODIs, the hard-hitting Wellington keeper has averaged 15, his best effort a brisk 49 to help New Zealand beat Sri Lanka at Hambantota last month.

But his glovework is slick and he is confident he can deliver. However, the 32-year-old Ronchi is not about to look too far down the line, with the World Cup 14 months away.

"I haven't played enough international cricket to think if I look a year in advance where I could be," he said.

"I want to make the most of every opportunity and if I think too far ahead it's all going to go horrendously wrong."

Ronchi, who has hit 13 hundreds and averages 38 in 79 first-class games, works in the here and now, and comes firmly from the one- step-at-a-time school. Focus on the next game, the next innings and go from there.

"That's the way I've always played cricket. I'm more worried about now than the future. If I do that, my head's in the wrong space."

Ronchi, born in Dannevirke but raised in Western Australia, is acknowledged as the country's best pure wicketkeeper. However, BJ Watling is making a good fist of the test job, which narrows Ronchi's international options by one.

His first opportunity, against England at the Champions Trophy in England in May-June, didn't go well. But he made progress on the trip to Sri Lanka in early November.

Ronchi doesn't have a specific keeping mentor. It used to be Australian great Adam Gilchrist, Ronchi's state and club mate. There are others to make the odd suggestion, but he feels he has a good handle on his glovework.

"Now I feel when things are not quite right, when my feet aren't moving well, when I'm not catching the ball, things like that.

"So I know when to make adjustments and what I need to work on. If I drop a goober I know my feet aren't moving right and I'm not watching the ball."

Ronchi has been moved about the order for New Zealand but believes where he is now, around number six or seven, is his best role. He naturally scores rapidly, although he knows there are times he may be better off dialling the speed back for a better return.

The word from coach Mike Hesson and captain Brendon McCullum is play his own game, keep doing what he's doing, not worry if things aren't going right and trust in his talent.

And as for the World Cup, that's for contemplating closer to the time.

"All sorts of things would be going through my brain I don't need to think about," Ronchi said. "If I keep it really simple, then everything's sweet."

- NZ Herald

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