New Zealand Cricket (NZC) on Friday released the list of the central contract players for the 2022-23 season. Ajaz Patel, a left-arm spinner, is poised to return to New Zealand’s centrally contracted list for the 2022-23 season, while all-rounder Michael Bracewell is set to receive his first offer. James Neesham has been removed from the shortlist of 20 players.
For the first time since 2006, retired veteran Ross Taylor will not be on the contract list. Neesham hasn’t played a Test since 2017 and has only played nine T20Is for New Zealand in the last 12 months, including the World Cup, where he scored 92 runs in seven innings at a strike rate of 135.29 and took three wickets at an economy of 8.20. Bracewell was recently named to the New Zealand Test squad for the England tour, replacing Neesham. In 2004, he made his national debut.
As a result, Ajaz and Bracewell are the only new names on the national contract list, with players having until May 19 to accept or decline their offers under the Master Agreement between NZC and the New Zealand Cricket Players Association.
“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,” NZ head coach Gary Stead said.
The rigorous fight to make the elite shortlist appears to get stiffer every year, according to New Zealand head coach Gary Stead.
“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,” Stead added.
New Zealand Centrally contracted players:
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