New Zealand Cricket (NZC), on Wednesday (May 16), announced the list of its centrally contracted players for the ongoing season. As expected, there were some big surprises.
Leg-spinner Todd Astle was the only new player in the 20-man list. On the other hand, there was no place for Jimmy Neesham and Neil Broom. NZC decreased the number of contracted players by one from the previous season.
New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen opened up on the reason that made NZC give Astle a central contract. Astle had made his first-class debut 12 years ago.
One of the most sought-after spinners in New Zealand as well as a consistent batsman, Astle made his mark after being drafted in One-day Internationals and Tests. He played a key role in New Zealand’s day-night Test win over England, his third victory in as many Test appearances.
Larsen went on to say that Astle features prominently in the team’s plans.
“Todd’s progress over the past 12 months has been exciting to see. When fit, he made the most of his opportunities in both Test and ODI cricket,” Larsen said in an NZC release.
“We have a big summer ahead; we know Todd performs well in New Zealand conditions, and we also have a spin-friendly tour against Pakistan coming up. Between Todd, Ish, and Mitchell our spin bowling stocks have probably never looked better,” he added.
Larsen further said that Neesham and Broom paid the price for their inconsistency. Neesham last played an international game during the Champions Trophy in June 2017. He was dropped by Otago club at one stage last summer.
On the other hand, Broom scored six and two in ODIs against Windies in December and rarely made an appearance since.
“Jimmy and Neil didn’t show the consistency required over the past year and we’d like to see them go back and demand our attention again through domestic performance. We’ll continue to monitor the progress of a number of fringe players, who will have the chance to continue to push their case through the NZA programme and home domestic season,” said Larsen.
The latest contracts will come into effect on August 1. The master agreement between NZC and the national players has not yet been finalised. Well, there has been an agreement to allow the contract process to take place on time.
Here’s list of contracted players including Todd Astle:
Corey Anderson, Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson, George Worker