Ronchi easing into his comfort zone in international cricket
Luke Ronchi is living the international cricketer's dream a second time. The first one with Australia ended quickly, but Ronchi is slowly starting to feel more comfortable at this level with New Zealand. He has made quick runs down the order in all three games against India so far, following two Man-of-the-Match knocks in the T20s against West Indies.
Ronchi attributed the performances to a relaxed frame of mind. "I feel pretty good and confident in the way things are going," Ronchi said. "I guess the end of the West Indies series kicked things into gear and made me more comfortable at this level which is a good thing. The more relaxed I am, the clearer frame of mind I have, the better I perform."
Ronchi made his New Zealand debut against England last year before playing in the Champions Trophy. He struggled as an opener during that stint, making 47 runs in six innings, and was left out of the squad for Bangladesh before being summoned as cover.
Brendon McCullum's decision to give up the keeping gloves allowed Ronchi to return in a middle-order role, which he had said was more comfortable for him. He had a decent outing in Sri Lanka but could not do much in the home one-dayers against West Indies. But then he hit 51 off 28 and 48 off 25, both unbeaten, in the T20s and was glad to have scored a few ODI runs after that against India.
"You always feel the extra pressure to perform. It's international cricket. You always want to do well and try and cement a spot or make runs when given an opportunity. I was certainly trying harder and harder the less I was performing. So to come out and make a few runs in a couple of games was nice and I have continued to [against India] now. I can stay more relaxed and play my natural game."
When asked if he was looking forward to playing the 2015 World Cup, Ronchi said he was just focused on the present. "I have said before, I want to do as well as I can now. Whatever happens, happens. If I look to the future then my mind's not thinking of what I need to do now and things can go wrong. As long as I am concentrating on my stuff now, hopefully it happens, but just now is my main goal."
Ronchi did come up against his former international team in the Champions Trophy, and said it would be "awesome" if he got the chance to play against Australia in the World Cup. "We played against them in the Champions Trophy. My mind was racing, looking at the guys I was keeping to when they were batting. I played a lot of cricket with them, going out to bat knowing every single one of them either by playing with them or against them or room-mates at academies and things like that. It's a different feeling, that's for sure. But if it happens in a World Cup, it will be awesome."
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo