Long wait pays off for patient Rippon

Otago all-rounder Michael Rippon has been named in the Black Caps. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Otago all-rounder Michael Rippon has been named in the Black Caps. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
You ripper. Otago spinner Michael Rippon had been waiting a long time for yesterday’s announcement.

The 30-year-old was named in the Black Caps white-ball squads for the tour of Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands in July and August.

It had been his goal since he signed with Otago for the 2017-18 season.

There were a few complications along the way.

Eligibility proved elastic and stretched out a year longer than the South African-born player anticipated.

Covid threw another curve ball his way.

But the wait was worth it.

"I’m pretty ecstatic," Rippon said.

"It is something I’ve been working towards since coming to New Zealand in 2017.

"It has been a long journey and I’m really looking forward to getting over to Europe and linking up with the squad.

"It is a nice time to be involved. It is a quality team and there are some quality players who are worthy of being on this tour who have missed out."

The left-arm wrist spinner first arrived in Dunedin towards the end of the 2016-17 season as a replacement player.

He impressed and was offered a fulltime contract the following season.

Rippon saw his future in black and committed to playing for New Zealand.

But he had a little too long out of the country in 2018 when he returned to the Republic for dental surgery.

That meant the clock was reset and he did not become eligible to represent his adopted country until midway through last year.

His residential status meant he was not considered for the tour of Bangladesh and Pakistan last year.

At the time there were tough border restrictions in place and exemptions were hard to get.

The disappointment of those setbacks melted away when he heard the news.

New Zealand Cricket got in touch with him following his efforts for the Netherlands on their tour of New Zealand in March and April.

He led the scoring for the Dutch with 109 runs in the three ODIs and also picked up three wickets in the series.

"With this selection, that is obviously the end of my career with the Dutch. I’m very thankful for the opportunity they gave me to perform throughout my journey.

"I wish them all the best and I’ll be following them closely."

ICC eligibility rules allow players to represent an affiliate or associate nation while remaining available for a full member nation.

Rippon is the only newcomer in the Black Caps squads.

Left-arm wrist spin is a rarity in world cricket and it is understood Rippon is the first of his type to be selected for the national side.

The Black Caps will play three ODIs and T20s against Ireland, two T20s and an ODI against Scotland in Edinburgh, and two T20s against the Netherlands in Amsterdam on August 4 and 5.

Tom Latham will captain the team against Ireland for the ODIs, before returning to New Zealand along with Henry Nicholls, Matt Henry, Will Young and Otago’s Jacob Duffy.

Their spots will be taken by Rippon, Mark Chapman, Jimmy Neesham, Daryl Mitchell and Ben Sears.

The only other uncapped player selected is Central Districts wicketkeeper Dane Cleaver, who has been named in both squads.

Northern Districts all-rounder Mitchell Santner will captain the team when Latham leaves.

Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Devon Conway are being rested and will return to New Zealand following the England test series.

Black Caps

The squads

Ireland (ODIs): Tom Latham (captain), Finn Allen, Michael Bracewell, Dane Cleaver, Jacob Duffy, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Adam Milne, Henry Nicholls, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Will Young.

Ireland (T20s), Scotland and Netherlands: Mitchell Santner (captain), Allen, Bracewell, Mark Chapman, Cleaver, Ferguson, Guptill, Milne, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Phillips, Michael Rippon, Ben Sears, Sodhi, Tickner.

adrian.seconi@odt.co.nz

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