Jesse Ryder has his sights set on a place at the top of New Zealand's batting order when the one-day squad for the series against West Indies is named on Thursday.
Ryder has not played at international level since February 2012 when he was dropped for disciplinary issues during the one-day series against South Africa. He has since had to serve a six-month suspension for taking a banned stimulant, a period which coincided with his recovery from the serious assault he suffered in Christchurch earlier this year.
Since returning to domestic cricket for Otago, following a move away from Wellington, he has scored 454 runs at 64.85 in four Plunket Shield matches. There has been understandable caution about Ryder's return to the New Zealand fold, but he trained with the squad recently and now feels ready to dip his toe in the water again and has had a few conversations with coach Mike Hesson and national selector Bruce Edgar.
"I feel that I'm probably in the best form that I've been in for a long time," Ryder told LiveSport radio. "The confidence is there and it's just a matter of getting my chance back in that side.
"I'm not too sure what they are thinking but they are happy with the way I'm going so hopefully I can push for that West Indies one-day team."
"I started opening and it would be nice to get back in to that opening spot," he added. "But first and foremost I have got to push for a place in that side. The boys are playing well and if I can keep scoring runs and push for a place then I'll be happy."
Brendon McCullum said Ryder's domestic form had made a compelling case for his recall. "I'm obviously a big fan of Jesse," he said. "His move to Otago was the right move at the right time and he's doing a great job run scoring runs which is the only currency we deal in. If he finds himself back in the environment then we know he will have earned it."
Ryder has played 39 ODIs and scored 1100 runs at 34.37 with two hundreds; his average opening the batting in 24 innings is 32.60 while his career-best 107 came at No. 3 against Pakistan.
He is one of a number of top-order batsmen in contention for a place in the 13-man squad including Tom Latham and the fit-again Martin Guptill. In the bowling department Doug Bracewell won't be considered after suffering an adductor injury training with the Test squad in Hamilton on Tuesday.