Andrew Ellis made his debut for Canterbury in the 2002-03 season but had to wait 10 years before receiving a call-up to the New Zealand squad. In that time, he had to battle five stress fractures to his lower back and was in and out of cricket constantly. He finally had surgery on his back in April 2010, and the benefits of being injury-free were instantly apparent. Ellis, who had started off as a genuine allrounder in Under-19 cricket, had built his reputation mainly as a bowler at Canterbury early in his career, but made significant contributions with the bat in the 2010-11 season, in which he scored his maiden first-class hundred, and the 2011-12 season. His performances earned him a spot in New Zealand's squad for the ODIs against Zimbabwe in January 2012.