Wellington Firebirds Jimmy Neesham and Tom Blundell have both been offered central BLACKCAPS contracts for the 2019/20 cricket season.
Neesham, centrally contracted in 2016-17 and 2017-18, was not included in last year’s muster but receives an offer for the upcoming year on the back of strong performances for Wellington, and the BLACKCAPS ODI side.
Blundell receives a central contract offer for the first time – he played two Tests and three T20s for the BLACKCAPS in 2017-18, and has been included in the ODI squad for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Selection manager Gavin Larsen said Neesham and Blundell had worked hard over the previous summer to be recognised with offers.
“Jimmy had a very good season and made excellent progress with Wellington, New Zealand A and the BLACKCAPS. He’s made every post a winning one,” said Larsen.
“Tom has acted as a back-up for BJ Watling on the tour of UAE, has recently played for New Zealand A and is in the World Cup squad as the wicket-keeping understudy for Tom Latham.
“We see this offer as a strong vote of confidence in his future.”
Firebirds head coach Glenn Pocknall said the offers were rewards for the pairs strong 2018/19 summer.
“Jimmy was impressive in our environment last season and showed his value in all disciplines by producing match winning performances,” he said.
“Tom is getting better every season, this comes from his willingness to improve and give back to the team.
“It’s a great reward for two players who have a bright future with New Zealand.”
In compiling the list of offers, an NZC contract review group, managed by GM High Performance Bryan Stronach, considered a range of factors including past performances, playing history, the playing schedule for the next twelve months and likelihood of players being involved during that period.
Under the terms of NZC’s Master Agreement with the New Zealand Cricket Players Association, the listed players have until Wednesday, May 9 to accept or decline the contract offers.
Players offered NZC central contracts for 2019-20:
Todd Astle (Canterbury)
Tom Blundell (Wellington)
Trent Boult (Northern Districts)
Colin de Grandhomme (Northern Districts)
Lockie Ferguson (Auckland)
Martin Guptill (Auckland)
Matt Henry (Canterbury)
Tom Latham (Canterbury)
Colin Munro (Auckland)
Henry Nicholls (Canterbury)
James Neesham (Wellington)
Jeet Raval (Auckland)
Mitchell Santner (Northern Districts)
Ish Sodhi (Northern Districts)
Tim Southee (Northern Districts)
Ross Taylor (Central Districts)
Neil Wagner (Northern Districts)
BJ Watling (Northern Districts)
Kane Williamson (Northern Districts)
Will Young (Central Districts)