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Rachin Ravindra, Ben Sears headline New Zealand central contracts list; Ajaz Patel returns

Rachin Ravindra, Ben Sears headline New Zealand central contracts list; Ajaz Patel returns

With a blend of experience and exciting young talent, New Zealand cricket seems well-positioned for the challenges ahead.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has unveiled its central contracts for the 2024-25 season, with some exciting young players receiving their first call-ups and a key spinner returning to the fold.

Rising NZ stars get their due

The biggest talking point is the inclusion of four newcomers: batsman Rachin Ravindra, pace bowlers Ben Sears and Will O’Rourke, and left-arm spinner Jacob Duffy. Ravindra, fresh off a breakout ODI World Cup and a Test hundred, is the youngest recipient of the prestigious Sir Richard Hadlee Medal. Sears and O’Rourke impressed on their Test debuts last summer, while Duffy brings experience from limited-overs cricket.

It’s a pinch-myself moment,” said Ravindra. “This is a great reward for the hard work and a chance to keep improving for the Blackcaps.”

Ajaz Patel makes comeback

Left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel finds himself back on the contract list. This is likely due to New Zealand’s upcoming Test-heavy schedule, featuring tours of Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and India, followed by a home series against England.

While top-order batsman Henry Nicholls retains his contract despite a dip in form, the absence of Kane Williamson is a notable one.

Williamson will be unavailable for a period due to his participation in the SA20 league but remains committed to the Blackcaps outside of that window. This opens up the question of a new white-ball captain for New Zealand.

Strength in depth for New Zealand contract

NZC selector Sam Wells is confident about the current crop of players. “We’re producing international-ready Blackcaps and we’re pleased with the current depth,” he said. “The quality of some of the players who weren’t offered contracts is a testament to that strength.”

With a blend of experience and exciting young talent, New Zealand cricket seems well-positioned for the challenges ahead.

New Zealand central contracts 2024-25

Finn Allen, Tom Blundell, Michael Bracewell, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Jacob Duffy, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Will O’Rourke, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Ben Sears, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Will Young.

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