Wellington batsman Jakob Bhula has been offered the sixteenth and final Wellington Firebirds contract for the 2020-21 season.
Bhula, who was the sixteenth contracted Firebird last year, joins a mix of young talent and experienced professionals in the Firebirds squad bolstered by the addition of three centrally contracted New Zealand players.
A former New Zealand Under 19 international, Bhula has charted a promising professional career so far. He played an important role in the Firebirds Ford Trophy win in the 2018-19 season and made his first-class debut aged just 18 in the same year.
Last summer he showed he can mix it with the best with 61 opening the batting for New Zealand XI against an England bowling attack that included Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad.
He joins a wealth of age-group international talent in the Firebirds squad which competed in the 2018 Under 19 World Cup in New Zealand - including batsman Finn Allen, allrounder Rachin Ravindra as well as wider squad members Luke Georgeson and Callum McLachlan.
“We’ve been really encouraged over the past couple of years with Jakob’s performances, particularly at a high level when he’s represented New Zealand XI,” said Firebirds assistant coach Lance Dry.
“We know there’s plenty of talent and ability there and it’s now our job to help him bring that out on a regular basis.
“Jakob adds even more competition at the top of the order which is hopefully driving all of our guys to push as hard as they can.”
Bhula adds more depth to the Firebirds batting stock which is already bolstered by BLACKCAPS Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, and Jimmy Neesham, as well as two of the country’s most promising talents in Rachin Ravindra and Finn Allen.
There is also good depth in the bowling department with the experienced Hamish Bennett, Ollie Newton, and Iain McPeake, alongside Michael Snedden and Ben Sears who endured a frustrating 2019-20 summer with injury.
“When you look at our biggest strengths heading into this season, it’s probably our balance that’s really good,” said Dry.
“We’re fortunate to have a lot of batsman that bowl – which gives a huge amount of flexibility when we’re picking teams in each format and will hopefully give us an advantage as we look ahead to the 2020/2021 season.”
The Firebirds will begin their official pre-season preparations for the 2020-21 summer on September 1.
Wellington Firebirds 2020/2021 squad:
Tom Blundell (central NZC contract)
Devon Conway (central NZC contract)
Jimmy Neesham (central NZC contract)
Logan van Beek
Article added: Tuesday 30 June 2020