Delighted at having made good use of the opportunity handed to him at Kanpur, New Zealand’s Luke Ronchi is hopeful that he can register a spot for himself in New Zealand’s Test lineup on a permanent basis. Playing only his second match in the longest format of the game, Ronchi was the standout batsman for the Black Caps with scores of 38 and 80 as the visitors crashed to a 197-run defeat against India in the three-match series opener.
Disappointed after losing out despite being on top after the first two days of the match at the Green Park stadium, Ronchi is confident that his side can rectify their errors and make a comeback in the series starting with the second Test which begins at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata from Friday.
"Everyone's pretty upbeat about the whole situation, there are plays we want to improve on, but I still think we had a lot of positives (from the Kanpur Test)," Ronchi said.
Speaking about his own performance during the Kanpur Test, Ronchi said that he was happy to grab on the chance provided after his impressive showing against reigning Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai in the warm-up game earned him a place in the playing eleven for the first time since making his Test debut England in 2015.
Revealing his ploy of getting away from the strike as the key to his success in the series opener, Ronchi felt that he could have done even better with better shot selection. The 31-year-old was referring to his dismissal in the second innings just before lunch on Day 5 when he attempted a huge heave off left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, who was the Man-of-the-Match in the Kanpur Test.
"My mindset is pretty much to try and get off strike as much as possible," he said. "I just try and hit gaps and get off strike and keep it as simple as I possibly can. Sometimes if the field is in a bit more I try to [hit boundaries], just so they'll push the field back and I've got single options, but I'm more of an aggressive batsman anyway. If I get in the mindset of trying not to get out, I'll get out. If I'm being positive my feet will move better, I'll hit the ball better, and where I need to."
"The problem is it got me out a couple times. When you get that chance you want to perform, so it was nice to make some runs, but I was disappointed at getting myself out, more so than the bowling getting me out," he added.
Ronchi revealed that the trip he made to India more than 15 years ago as an Australian Cricket Academy member with coach and former Australian wicketkeeper Rod Marsh had helped him understand his deficiencies against spin at the time and feels that he is a much-improved player now.
"I always enjoyed [playing spin] but it is something I've worked on over my whole career. I certainly wasn't the same player then as I am now. I went over there trying to cut, pull and do all sorts, which here is a lot harder to do,” Ronchi said.
“That was my first experience batting and keeping on these wickets and see the different ways people played it. From then on you're just trying to evolve and learn new ways of playing spin," he added.