Jimmy Neesham
Jimmy Neesham (AFP Photo)

Jimmy Neesham wants to be the answer to New Zealand’s search for a consistent allrounder after a refreshing off-season where he spent some time away from the game.

Neesham, 28, lost his place in the national side after underwhelming performances with the ball. He last played an ODI in June 2017 but now feels ready for a comeback and cement his place across formats.

“What the New Zealand team is crying out for is an allrounder they can rely on day in, day out, and not someone who’s just going to turn up now and then,” Neesham was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz on Thursday. “That’s where I want to put my stake in the ground and say through domestic performances, ‘here I am, I’m ready to go’.”

Neesham faces competition for the allrounder’s slot from Corey Anderson and Colin de Grandhomme. However, Anderson hasn’t bowled since undergoing a surgery last year while De Grandhomme’s lacks pace which might be detrimental on batting-friendly pitches.

Neesham is hoping that his bowling will push him back in the reckoning. “Looking at the fitness and strength results, I’m in one of the best spaces I’ve been in. That’s allowed me to bowl more in the nets and hopefully get me to a space where my bowling is a point of difference over those other guys.”

“After 2015 and having a stress fracture it took me a couple of seasons to really get fully back into bowling again. Physically I was back to 100 per cent but mentally it takes a while for you to trust your body again and know that bowling 25 overs isn’t going to mean you can’t walk for a week,” he said.

With the 2019 World Cup less than year away, Neesham is hopeful he will make the squad. “It’s certainly my focus, but at a more basic level than that it’s about enjoying the game again, going out and having fun which I probably haven’t done since about 2014. That was the main goal of my off-season, to get away from the game and enjoy it again at its most basic level.”

He further added, “I’ve put my stake in the ground and said I want to play all three forms for New Zealand, not for the next 12 months but for the next 4-5 years.”