Rippon added to Dutch squad in New Zealand

Michael Rippon
NAPIER, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 18: Michael Rippon of the Otago Volts bowls during the Super Smash T20 match between the Central Stags and the Otago Volts at McLean park on December 18, 2021 in Napier, New Zealand. (Photo by Kerry Marshall/Getty Images)

The Netherlands’ tough Super League assignment in New Zealand became a little easier with the announcement on Monday that 30-year-old Otago all-rounder Michael Rippon had been added to their squad.

A left-arm wrist spinner and useful right-handed batter, Rippon played 69 times for the Netherlands between 2013 and 2018, but he has been unavailable since then as he committed himself to Otago and set a target of playing for New Zealand.

He joins two other New Zealand-based players – opening batter Max O’Dowd and pace man Logan van Beek – in the Dutch squad for this tour, now extended to seven matches with the addition of three warm-up games at McLean Park, Napier, the first of which will take place on Thursday.

A product of Rondebosch Boys’ High School in Cape Town, Rippon first made contact with Dutch cricket as a 16-year-old, when he played five matches for VRA Amsterdam, where his mentor in South Africa, Ryan Maron, was the player-coach.

Two years later he joined Maron at VRA’s Amsterdam rivals ACC, where he played a full season, soon afterwards making his List A debut for Western Province in the South African domestic competition. He played club cricket in Sussex in 2012 and 2013, appearing for the county in both one-day and T20 formats.

Rippon came into the Dutch side for the Intercontinental Cup match against Namibia in Windhoek in April 2013, making a solid 65 in his first innings for his adopted country, and although he did not take a wicket in any of the five matches he played on that tour he went on to claim 90 over the next five seasons at an average of 22.04.

His best performance with the ball for the Netherlands is his five for 37 against Namibia in the final of the 2015 WCL Division 2 tournament, and he also claimed five for 79 in an Intercontinental Cup match against Afghanistan at Westvliet the following year. The latter match also saw him make his highest score for the side, 80 after he had been promoted into an opening role.

His batting has, in fact, more than matched his efforts with the ball: his 1305 runs across all formats have come at an average of 31.07, and three of his nine half-centuries came in his last five innings in Dutch colours.

For Otago he has made 1295 List A runs at 37.00 with a career best of 84, taking 60 wickets at 34.51, while in T20s he has 381 runs at 19.05 and 33 wickets at 35.57. His 1446 runs for Otago in first-class cricket include one century, 106 against Auckland last season, and he has taken 82 wickets at 33.30, his best six for 66 against Central Districts.

Rippon will add solidity to a batting line-up which had been weakened by the absence of Colin Ackermann and the retirement of Ben Cooper, while his unorthodox wrist spin adds further variety to an attack which offers a choice among left-arm finger spinners Pieter Seelaar and Clayton Floyd and the leg-breaks of Philippe Boissevain and Shariz Ahmad.

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