Micheal Bracewell earns maiden central contract; Neesham dropped
Maiden Central Contract for Micheal Bracewell; James Neesham dropped
Left arm spinner Ajaz Patel who set the world ablaze with his 10 wicket haul in December last year has returned to New Zealand’s centrally contracted list for the upcoming 2022-23 season, alongside a maiden offer for aspiring all rounder Micheal Bracewell. James Neesham didn’t make it to the 20 players shortlisted.
Retired veteran Ross Taylor will not feature in the contract list for the first time since 2006.
Neesham last played test cricket in 2017. Over an year or so, the all rounder has only featured in 9 T20I including the World T20 series in which he aggregated 92 runs in 7 innings at a strike of 135 to go with 3 wickets at an economy rate of 8.20. Bracewell, who replaces Neesham, was recently incorporated in the NZ Test squad for the England tour. He made his national debut against Netherlands in the break-out season where he was also adjourned the Super Smash Player of the Year
Ajaz, meanwhile, was the leading wicket taker in the five match T20I series against Bangladesh in September. Patel also helped his side clinch a memorable test win over England at Edgbaston in June.
Ajaz and Bracewell therefore are the only fresh faces on the national contract list, with the players having May 19th as the deadline to accept or decline their offers according to NZC’s Master Agreement with the New Zealand Cricket Players Association.
"Finalising the list seems to get tougher by the year," New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said of the fierce competition to make the elite shortlist.
"The busy international calendar means we're calling on a wider base of talent these days and the likes of Michael Bracewell is testament to the depth of that talent. Michael's been consistently performing on the domestic circuit for seasons now and we certainly see him as an international prospect in all three formats.
"It's great to see Ajaz back on the list after narrowly missing out last season. His value as our leading red-ball spinner is clear and we're excited to see the role he could play in the Test team going forward.
"I'd also like to acknowledge Ross Taylor and his immense contribution to the BLACKCAPS over a long and successful career," he added.
Players offered central contracts for 2022-23: Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Michael Bracewell, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young.
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