Rippon’s ‘rollercoaster’ ends in ineligibility

Michael Rippon
Michael Rippon
This time last year, Otago all-rounder Michael Rippon was confident he was eligible to play for New Zealand.

Now he knows he is not eligible.

It has been a "rollercoaster", Rippon said.

In July the South African-born 29-year-old inched closer to his goal of playing international cricket when he was included in the Black Caps South Island training camp in Lincoln.

And in December he played for New Zealand A in a first-class game against Pakistan.

But Rippon contacted the Otago Daily Times to advise the ICC was unhappy with the amount of days the former Dutch international spent out of the country in 2018.

Rippon had returned to the Republic for a couple of months for jaw surgery.

"When I played that [New Zealand] A game last year, there was a bit of news came back from the ICC around the days I was gone," Rippon said.

"You are allowed two months out of the country and I’m not sure how many I did but it was a little bit more.

"It was just because I was covered there through the family medical aid and I was doing the recovery."

The ICC allowed Rippon to play in the New Zealand A game but ruled he was ineligible for international cricket for now.

Rippon joined the Otago team in January 2017, initially as a replacement player.

But he quickly impressed and signed a declaration of intent to qualify for New Zealand late the next month.

Rippon had believed he had met the eligibility criteria in March last year but "you didn’t really know until New Zealand Cricket request the ICC to play you in a fixture".

"The ICC then come back and say whether you are good to go or not."

Rippon did not get the clearance he was expecting.

"If you look at the ICC regulations, you have to do three years in a row and 2018 for me ended up being a scrap.

"It is obviously disappointing. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster for the past three or four years.

"But I’m at peace with it because there is no point worrying about that stuff because it is out of my control.

"The only thing I have control over is trying to do the best I can for your team and hopefully there is some reward from that."

Rippon still does not have a firm date when he will be eligible but he thinks it will be by the middle of this year.

Rippon was named Otago player of the year this season. Left-arm wrist spinners are a rarity in world cricket and his batting has really flourished in the past few summers.

He scored his maiden first-class hundred earlier this summer and his haul of 497 runs at an average of 45.18 represented a very solid effort.

He also netted 22 wickets at 34.86.

Rippon’s inclusion in the Black Caps South Island training camp and promotion to the New Zealand A team was a clear sign he was on the selection radar.

That call up will have to wait for now, though.

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