Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips earn maiden NZC central contracts
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) announced the annual contracts list for the season 2021/22 on Thursday. The likes of Daryl Mitchell and Glenn Phillips have earned their maiden central contracts. Meanwhile, wicket-keeper BJ Watling and spinner Ajaz Patel are missing out from the 20-men group. Watling recently announced that he will retire from all forms of cricket after the UK tour.
NZ contracts list (2021/22): Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, James Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young.
Wicket-keeper-batsman Phillips has cemented his spot in New Zealand's T20I side with his recent performances. He struck New Zealand's fastest T20I century (46 balls) against the West Indies at the Bay Oval in November last year. Overall, Phillips racked up 366 runs from 14 T20Is at an average of 40.66 and strike-rate of nearly 185 in the last season.
All-rounder Mitchell, who also earned his maiden NZC contract, has replaced Colin de Grandhomme, who had been sidelined from the entire home summer with an injury. The former remained impressive across formats, having slammed his maiden Test and ODI centuries. Sine January 2020, he has scored 316 international runs at an average of 63.20. Mitchell has also contributed with the ball.
Left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel had missed the start of the last season with a calf injury. Although he made a comeback in domestic cricket, NZ refrained from rushing him back into Tests. He is now back in the Test squad for the upcoming England tour. NZ selector Gavin Larsen has indicated that he is "very much" in contention for the overseas assignments.
Under the terms of New Zealand Cricket's agreement with the NZCPA (the players' union), the 20 players who have been offered deals have to accept or decline the contracts until May 22. The contracts will officially come into effect on August 1. Meanwhile, New Zealand are set to tour UK for the England Test series, and the ICC World Test Championship final against India.