Gillespie misses out on New Zealand contract
The fast bowler Mark Gillespie has missed out on a national contract despite being New Zealand's leading wicket taker in their most recent Test series. New Zealand have named their 20 contracted players for 2012-13 and five new names have appeared on the list for the first time - Dean Brownlie, Doug Bracewell, Andrew Ellis, Tarun Nethula and Kruger van Wyk - while James Franklin has regained his deal after being cut last year.
But the inclusions meant there was no room for Gillespie, 32, who made his return to international cricket in March having not played for New Zealand in more than three years. He proved the value of his recall by collecting 11 wickets in the Test series against South Africa, despite playing only two of the three Tests, and only South Africa's Vernon Philander had a more productive series.
New Zealand Cricket uses a set criteria to rank its players across all three forms of the game, with Test cricket given twice the weighting of ODIs and Twenty20 internationals. But that wasn't enough to put Gillespie, who is currently battling an ankle injury, in the top 20.
Kim Littlejohn, the national selection manager, said the contracted players were those likely to add the greatest value to the national side over the next year. Littlejohn and the NZC director of cricket John Buchanan were the men in charge of awarding contracts this year, with the outgoing coach John Wright not taking part in the process.
As reported last month, Jesse Ryder did not have his contract renewed, and the other men who lost their existing deals were Hamish Bennett, who missed all of last season due to back surgery, Neil Broom, Andy McKay, Luke Woodcock and Reece Young. Michael Bates, Ronnie Hira, Graeme Aldridge, Brent Arnel, Colin de Grandhomme, Jeetan Patel and Tom Latham all played for New Zealand during the past year but did not win a contract.
"We have five new contracted players and their addition reflects the strong performances they have put in over the past 12 months and the value they are expected to bring to the Black Caps this coming year," Littlejohn said. "It's an exciting time for the Black Caps with a number of important series in the 2012-13 season including the ICC World Twenty20 tournament.
"We believe the contracted players will be integral to the success of the team in what will be a demanding period against highly ranked opposition. There were some difficult decisions and it's disappointing for the players who did not have their contracts renewed. We are confident they will continue to work hard and look to force their way into the team through performance."
The players who missed out on national deals will now have to wait for major association contracts, which will be announced on July 22.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here