Michael Papps was selected for the one-day series against South Africa in 2003-04, ending New Zealand's search for a capable opening batsman to partner Stephen Fleming. His wonderful performance got him selected for the corresponding Test series as well. He scored a battling 86 in difficult conditions, but at some price. Papps made an impression with his ability to manipulate the bowlers and was later put on the domestic form in the 2003-04 season. He racked up more than 1000 runs for Canterbury, with a noted ability to convert length balls into half-volleys.