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ICC Champions Trophy: New Zealand’s Luke Ronchi surprised at being asked to open

Luke Ronchi, who has not scored an ODI half-century since his record-breaking 170* against Sri Lanka in January 2015, hit 66 while opening in New Zealand’s first Champions Trophy 2017 warm-up game against India on Sunday, which Kane Williamson’s side lost by 45 runs (D/L).

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: May 29, 2017 18:43 IST
Champions Trophy 2017,Luke Ronchi,New Zealand Cricket Team
Luke Ronchi scored 66 off 63 in New Zealand’s first Champions Trophy 2017 warm-up game against India at the Kennington Oval on Sunday. (Getty Images)

Luke Ronchi, New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman, has admitted he was surprised to be handed the opening slot along with Martin Guptill during his side’s 45-run defeat at the hands of India in their ICC Champions Trophy warm-up game at the Oval on Sunday.

(Read | Virat Kohli, Shami shine as India beat New Zealand in Champions Trophy warm-up)

Earlier, Ronchi had opened with Tom Latham in the tri-series in Ireland and, after a top score of 37 in four innings, he might have expected that he would not be asked to open again.

However, Ronchi, who has not scored an ODI half-century since a record-breaking 170 not out in January 2015, did his best to show his credentials against a full-strength Indian bowling attack, as he scored 66 out of the side’s total of 189.

(Read | India out ‘to enjoy’ ICC Champions Trophy after money row)

Reflecting on the same, Ronchi said he was shocked at being asked to open the batting for the Black Caps, before adding that the new role is quite comfortable and that he would love to continue on the same.

“I was a bit surprised when I first found out the opportunity was going to be there but it’s been pretty good. Feeling comfortable with the way things have worked. It’s been nice to make a few runs and obviously you’d like to kick on. Helping the team get off to a bit of a start makes a difference,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Ronchi as saying.

(Read | ICC Champions Trophy: Ross Taylor tired of New Zealand’s runner-up tag)

The 36-year-old further said his nature of play is aggressive and playing hard-hitting game is the only way he knows. He, however, admitted the risk of getting out in such a situation is always high.

(Read | ICC Champions Trophy: England banking on Ben Stokes’s all-round talent)

“Being aggressive is my natural way of batting. If I can take that aggressive approach to the bowlers, if we can get off to a flier, that’s brilliant, but obviously there’s also chances of me getting out early as well with that sort of approach. Hopefully, if it comes off, it comes off well and if it doesn’t, well I guess that’s my role and people understand that,” Ronchi said.

The wicketkeeper-batsman further hoped that it would be pretty entertaining if New Zealand partner him with Guptill and they both start hitting right away and click on the same day during the Champions Trophy.

(Read | ICC Champions Trophy: Australia ready to unleash ‘big four’ pace attack)

But it seems unlikely that Ronchi will open the batting during the upcoming 50-over marquee event, with Tom Latham expecting to return to partner Guptill at the top of the order.

The Kane Williamson-led side will begin their Champions Trophy campaign against Australia on June 2.

First Published: May 29, 2017 18:43 IST