Otago all-rounder a landmark pick for NZ

Michael Rippon in action for Otago. Photo: Getty
Michael Rippon in action for Otago. Photo: Getty
Otago all-rounder Michael Rippon has become the rarest of phenomena in New Zealand cricket with his naming for the limited overs series against Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands.

The selection is scarcer than Kane Williamson hitting a six in tests, Neil Wagner missing the pectoral region on demand, or any of their compatriots bowling underarm to win a limited overs match at the MCG.

Rippon is the first left-arm wrist spinner picked for the Black Caps in any format across 92 years of history.

All other left-arm exponents, such as Daniel Vettori, Hedley Howarth, Stephen Boock and most recently Ajaz Patel, have been of the orthodox rather than unorthodox variety.

Renowned practitioners of Rippon's action across history have included Australian Brad Hogg, Indian Kuldeep Yadav and, whenever the mood took him, West Indian Sir Garfield Sobers.

The art was formerly known as a bowling a "Chinaman", but that term has recently been outlawed by most in the sport's fraternity due to racist overtones.

Rippon is the only newcomer in the Black Caps' white-ball squads, although wicketkeeper-batter Dane Cleaver is yet to play.

The 30-year-old will join the side after the three one-day internationals against Ireland from July 10 to 15.

He first moved to New Zealand from South Africa in 2013 and, as a Dutch passport holder, has 31 caps to his name for the Netherlands including the three ODIs against the Black Caps in March.

International Cricket Council eligibility rules allow players to represent an affiliate or associate nation while remaining available to play for a full member. The process is prohibited in reverse.

Selector Gavin Larsen said Rippon's consistent performances domestically for many seasons earned him the call-up.

"His left-arm wrist spin is a point of difference and he also offers some punch down the order with the bat.

"We've got plenty of spin options in the squads and I'm sure both Michaels' [Rippon and Michael Bracewell] will relish the chance to rub shoulders with Mitch [Santner] and Ish [Sodhi] and learn from their experience.

"Dane's earned his opportunity off the back of his strong form for the Central Stags, and it's great to see his recent call up to the test squad in England."

Whichever New Zealand Cricket employee worked out the arrivals and departures for the rest of the squads deserves an honorary doctorate in logistical planning.

Tom Latham will captain the team in the ODI series against Ireland before he returns home with Henry Nicholls, Matt Henry, Will Young and Jacob Duffy.

Joining Rippon for the Ireland T20 series onwards will be Mark Chapman, Jimmy Neesham, Daryl Mitchell and Ben Sears. Mitchell Santner will take over the captaincy from Latham.

In line with NZC's commitment to wellbeing, Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Devon Conway return home after the England tests. The white-ball tour to the West Indies in August is their next likely assignment ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia during October and November.

Shane Jurgensen will head up the coaching team for the Ireland leg of the tour with support from Luke Ronchi and former England international Luke Wright, allowing regular mentor Gary Stead a break.

Jurgensen and Ronchi depart for home post-Ireland, with Stead returning. He will be joined by Graeme Aldridge, Dean Brownlie and Wright for the Scotland, Netherlands and West Indies series.

Pace bowler Adam Milne has been selected for both squads, having featured in last year's T20 World Cup, and could play his first ODI in nearly five years. Glenn Phillips has been included in the 50-over squad for the first time.

Finn Allen and Ben Sears are also a chance to make their ODI debuts.

"Coming off the back of the England series and in the middle of another busy year, these tours were always going to be an opportunity to further test our depth in white-ball cricket," Larsen said.

He also noted Cleaver's inclusion meant no room for incumbent T20 gloveman Tim Seifert.

"We know how dynamic a player Tim can be when he's at his best and we're hopeful he can push his case for selection again.

"It's pleasing to see the depth we're developing behind the stumps with the likes of Tom Blundell and Cam Fletcher also in the discussion."

The first group depart for Ireland on July 3. The squad for the tour of the West Indies will be announced midway through next month.

New Zealand ODI squad for Ireland

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

New Zealand squad for Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands

Mitchell Santner (c), Finn Allen, Michael Bracewell, Mark Chapman *, Dane Cleaver (wk), Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Adam Milne, Daryl Mitchell *, Jimmy Neesham *, Glenn Phillips, Michael Rippon *, Ben Sears *, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner.

*joining post Ireland ODIs

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