Pair replaces Bond and Vincent March 17, 2008

Bell and O'Brien earn New Zealand contracts

Cricinfo staff

Matthew Bell and Iain O'Brien have been handed New Zealand Cricket contracts for the remainder of the season. The pair were given deals that expire on May 31 as they took over the contracts vacated by Shane Bond and Lou Vincent, who joined the Indian Cricket League.

Bell bounced back into the Test team in January after an absence of more than six years and he immediately impressed with 107 against Bangladesh. However, his results against England - 19, 0, 0 and 29 - have been less inspiring.

O'Brien also enjoyed a strong series against Bangladesh, collecting seven wickets at 16.57, but a toe injury has kept him out of the first two Tests against England. The contract list for the 2008-09 season is likely to be finalised before New Zealand set off for their tour of England in late April.