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Luke Ronchi
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter


Player:L Ronchi

DateLine: 29th April 2009

 

Over the past few seasons as Western Australia's wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi has become used to grasping half-chances. Now that he is the country's No. 2 gloveman, that skill will become even more important. Brad Haddin stepped into the top spot following Adam Gilchrist's retirement and Ronchi's opportunities at the highest level will only come when Haddin is unavailable. But already chances have arrived, and Ronchi has seized them. Haddin's broken finger allowed Ronchi four ODIs and a Twenty20 international in the West Indies in 2008 and his glovework was brilliant. More entertaining was his electrifying approach to top-order batting. At the tiny Warner Park in St Kitts, Ronchi clubbed what became the equal third-quickest half-century by an Australian in an ODI, reaching the mark from 22 balls. It was the kind of clean striking that Western Australia wicketkeepers have patented over the past decade; Ronchi took over from the rapid-scoring Ryan Campbell, who himself was handed the gloves when Gilchrist stepped up to national duties. Just two games after Campbell's retirement in 2005-06, Ronchi blasted a run-a-ball century against New South Wales.

 

Highlights have come thick and fast since that moment. In 2006-07, he hammered the fastest hundred in Australian domestic one-day history. His 56-ball century against New South Wales featured a series of powerful pulls off Stuart Clark, and the effort eclipsed the 62-ball record set by Ronchi's team-mate Adam Voges two seasons earlier. Another standout moment was when he struck 89 from 49 balls against an England XI in the Lilac Hill match the same summer. Perhaps his most remarkable display was in a 2007-08 Pura Cup match against Queensland when he scored a 51-ball century and the second fifty came in a scarcely believable 11 deliveries. He finished the season with 444 runs at 40.36 along with 33 dismissals, and only Shaun Marsh scored more one-day runs for the Warriors than Ronchi's 310. The previous season an equally impressive tally in both competitions earned him a third winter at the Academy and selection for the Australia A tour to Pakistan. Ronchi celebrated a first-class double of 90 and 33 against Tasmania on debut in 2002-03 and then outlined his method. "I just tried to have fun and it went from there," he said. He struck a wild 67 from 24 balls in the first Twenty20 game in Australia and smacked 40 off 13 for the Prime Minister's XI in 2004-05. Born in New Zealand, he is a man Australia will be thrilled to call their own over the next few years.

 


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