Somewhere in the frenzy surrounding helmet safety after the Mitchell McClenaghan calamity, and crowds verbally abusing Pakistan's convicted spot-fixer Mohammad Amir, BJ Watling will slip into his first one-day international in almost three years today at McLean Park.

The last of his 22 matches was the final game of the series loss to England in February 2013, a period in which he opened and scored 10 runs in three matches.

Watling is reprieved as a middle order wicketkeeper-batsman to give Luke Ronchi a rest. It is just the third ODI the 34-year-old has missed since his New Zealand debut at Lord's in May 2013 - a testament to extraordinary fitness.

The Black Caps have played 64 ODIs in that time. Ronchi missed two in Bangladesh during October 2013 when Brendon McCullum and Tom Latham kept once each.


Watling's game has matured exponentially since his last coloured clothing appearance. His test skills are coveted as part of consecutive world record partnerships for the sixth wicket and he is touted as a leader in the test inner circle.

However, Ronchi has held court as the limited overs gloveman with an explosive ODI career strike rate of 120.

By comparison, Watling's rate is 69 in 20 ODI innings, a figure that increases to 85 when four middle order appearances are isolated.

As competition intensified for World Cup places in 2014, Watling was instructed to improve his strike rate on the 'A' tour to England where he also captained the side.

Players were assessed on target scenarios within eight List A games to see how they coped under pressure. Watling stood out, with an average of 38.60 and strike rate of 137 closing in the middle order. He conceded no byes and took 19 catches.

Ronchi has an outstanding record with the limited overs gloves, but a grim run with the bat means the clock must be ticking on his retention.

Selector Gavin Larsen stated Ronchi was being rested, despite his struggles in white-ball cricket since making an unbeaten 170 against Sri Lanka a year ago, the highest score by a No.7 in the format.

The reason for Watling's call-up is so New Zealand keep mustering depth in all positions ahead of the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy and World T20. Given the batting and bowling strength of recent times, wicketkeeper - and perhaps spin bowling in Nathan McCullum's absence - are the main areas of perceived vulnerability.

Elsewhere, there were heavy downpours yesterday in Hawkes Bay, with more forecast for this morning.

Puddles formed on the McLean Park outfield but had largely drained by early afternoon.

The match is scheduled to start at 2pm.