The Wellington Firebirds have added one of New Zealand Cricket’s brightest prospects to their contracted player list for the 2020-2021 season.
21-year-old batsman Finn Allen will make the move South from Auckland to the Capital after being included in the first round of 15 players to be offered Firebirds contracts for the upcoming season.
A former New Zealand Under 19 international, Allen has already shown his ability – he debuted for the Auckland Aces at just 17 and, last year, posted 104 not out for the New Zealand XI against England, facing the likes of Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer.
Allen joins several former New Zealand Under 19 teammates in Wellington, including Rachin Ravindra, Jakob Bhula, Ben Sears, Luke Georgeson and Callum McLachlan.
Wellington A and Hutt District batsman Troy Johnson is the other new name on the list. He earns his first professional contract after successfully progressing through the Cricket Wellington pathway system.
The 22-year-old debuted for the Firebirds in the 2018/19 Super Smash competition against Canterbury and was a regular member of last year’s successful Plunket Shield squad.
Johnson is the eighth Cricket Wellington pathway graduate on this year’s list; he joins Fraser Colson, Andrew Fletcher, Jamie Gibson, Lauchie Johns, Iain McPeake, Rachin Ravindra and Ben Sears.
Firebirds head coach Glenn Pocknall said the two new players were both worthy of their inclusion.
“We’re really excited to be able to add two high quality batsmen and equally great blokes to the squad who we know will contribute on and off the field for us,” he said.
“Finn is an exciting young talent and he’s shown that with his performances for Auckland, as well as his century for the New Zealand XI against a quality England bowling attack last year.
“Troy thoroughly deserves his first official contract after performing consistently well for our A side and playing a big role at the back end of the successful Plunket Shield campaign last season.
“We’re all about developing people and we play an important role in assisting them reach their goals. In these two guys we know what they’re wanting to achieve, and we look forward to supporting their careers.”
Cricket Wellington CEO Cam Mitchell said the inclusion of both players aligned with Cricket Wellington’s wider strategy.
“We want to continue producing quality players that will eventually go on and play for New Zealand,” he said.
“We have shown with the progression of our players in the last two years that we are capable of doing that and Finn and Troy are talented players that we are excited to see develop and progress as well.
“It’s also really exciting to see yet another player from our pathway system breakthrough into the professional Firebirds environment.”
Of the players contracted in the previous year Devon Conway and Malcolm Nofal are not on this year’s list. Conway joined Tom Blundell and Jimmy Neesham on the BLACKCAPS central contract list in May, while Nofal has returned home to pursue his cricket career in South Africa.
The first round of 15 players have until June 21 to officially accept their contract offers, as part of the formal contracting procedure with the NZCPA.
The sixteenth contracted Firebird will be named in the second round of selections on June 30.
Wellington Firebirds 2020-21 first round contract offers:
Logan van Beek
Article added: Monday 15 June 2020