Wellington A and Upper Hutt United wicketkeeper-batsman Callum McLachlan has been offered the sixteenth and final Wellington Firebirds contract for the 2021-22 season.
A former New Zealand Under 19 representative, the 22-year-old has been a mainstay in the Wellington A setup for the past three seasons and now gets his first opporutnity at Firebirds level.
A versatile batsman and accomplished wicketkeeper, he was the recipient of Cricket Wellington’s May Cup for highest premier club score in 2020, with an impressive 224 for his Upper Hutt United club – the highest Wellington premier men’s score in the last two years.
"I don't think it has quite sunk in yet, but it was an amazing feeling ringing Mum and Dad and hearing their reactions, I definitely won't be forgetting those phone calls,” he said.
"It means a lot to be contracted for the first time, I can't wait to get stuck in.
“It's a really exciting opportunity to learn from some of the country's best and really develop and grow my game."
McLachlan is the eighth player on the Firebirds contract list to have developed through the Cricket Wellington pathway system and is also one of eight in a core group of players under the age of 23.
He was a part of the New Zealand Under 19 squad that finished eighth at the 2018 Under 19 World Cup in New Zealand – in the same squad as fellow Firebirds Finn Allen, Jakob Bhula, Luke Georgeson and Rachin Ravindra.
Firebirds head coach Glenn Pocknall said he was delighted to bring another local Wellington player through to the Firebirds setup.
“Callum has been on our radar for a while now, since representing New Zealand Under 19 at the World Cup here in 2018,” he said.
“He has shown through some strong performances that he possesses great potential and it’s now up to us to help nurture that and help him continue his development.
“It’s brilliant to give another local player an opportunity at this level and to now have a core group of young players in the contracted squad it bodes well for the future.”
McLachlan’s club chairman at Upper Hutt United Dan Henderson said the contract was just reward for the hardwork McLachlan has put in on and off the field.
“Callum has worked tirelessly to get this opportunity and we couldn't be happier for him,” he said.
“Callum's dedication to advancing his cricket career is inspiring, constantly working on his game and finding opportunities to get better and has made a lot of sacrifices in pursuing his cricket dream.
“Since Callum joined our club after finishing at St Pats Silverstream, he has been a central part of our on-field performances setting many club records over the past few seasons.
“He is also a keen contributor off the field, with his work on the Club Committee and through our Community Development Programme we run in Upper Hutt.
“As a club we are truly wrapped for Callum being awarded his first professional contract and we have no doubt he will impress when he represents the Firebirds.”
The Firebirds will begin their official pre-season preparations for the 2021-22 summer on September 1.
Wellington Firebirds 2021-22 contracted players: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)Callum McLachlan* (Upper Hutt United)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: Wednesday 07 July 2021