The Wellington Firebirds have added another one of New Zealand Cricket’s brightest prospects to their contracted player list for the 2021-2022 season.
22-year-old allrounder Nathan Smith will move North from Otago to join the Firebirds after being included in the first round of 15 players to receive Firebirds contracts for the upcoming season.
Smith has represented the Otago Volts for the last five years, establishing himself as one of New Zealand’s best young players.
A New Zealand A and former New Zealand Under 19 representative, he has played 80 matches for Otago across all three formats since making his debut as an 18-year-old against Northern Districts in 2016 and has amassed over 1500 runs and taken over 100 wickets for the blue and gold.
Smith joins fellow New Zealand Under 19 representatives Finn Allen, Rachin Ravindra and Ben Sears who were all part of the 2016 ICC Under 19 World Cup squad.
Wellington A and Eastern Suburbs allrounder Luke Georgeson is the other new name on the list. The 22-year-old earns his first professional contract having successfully progressed through the Cricket Wellington pathway system.
Another Under 19 international who represented New Zealand at the 2018 ICC Under 19 World Cup alongside Allen, Ravindra and Jakob Bhula, he has already made his List A and first-class debuts for the Firebirds and became a regular member of the Firebirds Plunket Shield squad at the back end of the 2020-21 season.
An opening batsman and a handy seam bowler, he proved his versatility in the later stages of last summer’s first-class competition claiming his maiden first-class half century against Northern Districts and picking up best figures of 3-39 against Central Stags, removing Ross Taylor, Greg Hay and Tom Bruce.
The allrounder is currently playing overseas in Ireland for the Northern Knights and recently registered his maiden List-A half-century against Leinster Lightning in the Irish One-Day Inter-Provincial Cup.
The addition of Smith and Georgeson means the Firebirds will be able to call on a crop of seven promising players under the age of 23. They join Rachin Ravindra, Ben Sears, Finn Allen, Troy Johnson and Jakob Bhula in a young core building for the future.
Wellington Firebirds head coach Glenn Pocknall said he was excited to officially welcome both players into the Firebirds environment.
“Nathan and Luke are both fantastic cricketers and we’re really looking forward to developing them and seeing the impact they can have on this team.
“Nathan has shown his dedication and class with his performances over the past five years with Otago, as well as his experience at New Zealand A level.
“Luke is another New Zealand Under 19 international and a player with huge skill with both bat and ball.
“He’s captained Wellington at A level and has a taste of first-class and List-A cricket so we’re really proud to now be able offer him his first contract.
“In Luke and Nathan, we have two young, ambitious players who will add to a nucleus of young players under the age of 23 that we want to grow and develop. that’s exciting.”
Cricket Wellington CEO Cam Mitchell said Smith and Georgeson were players who could help Wellington continue to achieve success.
“Nathan and Luke are two of the most promising players in New Zealand and we see them playing big roles in what will hopefully be more success for the Firebirds in the future.
“We want to have more players representing New Zealand on the world stage and both of these guys have ambitions to do that and we’re looking forward to helping them achieve those ambitions.”
The Firebirds will be supported by a world-class coaching structure which includes head coach Glenn Pocknall, specialist batting coach Doug Watson and specialist pace bowling coach Iain O’Brien.
Of the players contracted in the previous year, Fraser Colson, Andrew Fletcher and Lauchie Johns have not been offered new contracts with Wellington.
Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, and Jimmy Neesham were included on the 2021-22 BLACKCAPS contract list.
The sixteenth contracted Firebird will be named in the second round of selections on June 30.
Wellington Firebirds 2021-22 first round contract offers:Finn Allen (Petone-Riverside)Hamish Bennett (North City)Jakob Bhula (Karori)Michael Bracewell (Eastern Suburbs)Luke Georgeson* (Eastern Suburbs)Jamie Gibson (Eastern Suburbs)Troy Johnson (Hutt District)Iain McPeake (Hutt District)Ollie Newton (Upper Hutt United)Rachin Ravindra (Hutt District)Ben Sears (Hutt District)Nathan Smith*Michael Snedden (Karori)Logan Van Beek (Taita District)Peter Younghusband (Karori)
2021-22 BLACKCAPS contracted players:Tom Blundell (Karori)Devon Conway (VUWCC)Jimmy Neesham (Hutt District)
*newly contracted players
Article added: Monday 21 June 2021