New Zealand news July 10, 2014

Test openers cut from New Zealand contract list

ESPNcricinfo staff
35

New Zealand's Test openers for most of the past year, Hamish Rutherford and Peter Fulton, have both been axed from the central contract list for 2014-15. Fast bowler Doug Bracewell, allrounder Grant Elliott, spinner Bruce Martin and batsman Dean Brownlie have also lost their contracts, with New Zealand's selectors making six changes to the 20-man group.

Spinners Mark Craig and Ish Sodhi earned deals, along with fast bowlers Matt Henry and Adam Milne, as well as wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi and, not surprisingly, the allrounder Jimmy Neesham, who has made two centuries from his first four Tests. New Zealand's general manager of national selection, Bruce Edgar, said the newer players had all earned their places on the list.

"We've had a very strong summer followed by the Test series victory in the West Indies where a number of younger players put their hands up for consideration," Edgar said. "Two of those integral to the series win in the West Indies were spinners Ish Sodhi and Mark Craig. While we accept that Mark and Ish are by no means the finished product, they are promising bowlers that we want to invest time in."

"Adam and Matt are two exciting young bowlers that if we manage well have got a big future in all forms of the game. Jimmy and Luke are both consistent members of our shorter-form teams and they've recently been selected in our Test squad as well."

The presence of only one specialist Test opener, Tom Latham, was an indication that uncertainty remains as to who will take those positions over the coming year. Rutherford was cut after making 322 runs at 21.46 over the past year, while Fulton struggled just as much and managed only 270 runs at 19.28.

"There'll be plenty of opportunities for the openers and others with domestic contracts to put their hand up on both the New Zealand A tour to England later this month and throughout the season in the domestic competitions," Edgar said.

A set criteria is used to rank players across all three forms of the game, with Test cricket receiving twice the weighting of ODI and T20 cricket. The players with the 20 highest aggregate scores are then offered contracts.

Daniel Vettori was not included in the contract list after turning down a deal last year due to his ongoing injury problems. Vettori has not played for New Zealand since June last year, but there are hopes that he will be able to take part in the World Cup next year.

"He's working pretty hard," Edgar said. "I hear he's pretty fit. It's just a matter of form and we would look seriously at him if we know he's available."

Bracewell and Jesse Ryder, both with a history of disciplinary issues, had run into trouble again this February for staying out late at an Auckland bar on the eve of the first Test against India. Edgar said that Bracewell, who had also suffered a broken foot at that time, was "doing everything right as far as we are concerned at the moment."

Ryder had been considered for selection earlier this year, Edgar said. "At the time, we decided that his preparation wasn't up to the standard that we required. To this stage, it's still the same. It doesn't discount him from selection at some future point."

While Bracewell has not played since January, Ryder is currently doing duty for Essex in county cricket, where he has scored 317 runs for the season at an average of 31.70.

Contract list Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • hokeypokey on July 12, 2014, 3:13 GMT

    @bond, agree with22many..pay him a match fee and move on.give the contract to a young up in comer who is in the mix for all formats..time to move on, hes hard to hide in the feild.

  • on July 11, 2014, 7:01 GMT

    Jeet Raval didn't have the greatest FC but I think he deserves a shot. Has a solid technique and would fit in well with this team. If it doesn't work we can give Guptil another shot. Should stay away from Bracewell at the moment, the NZ team is making good strides but runs the risk of becoming to young. Theres enough stability in the rest of the team to experiment and search for the right opening option, presuming Latham continues his success which I am confident of.

  • anver777 on July 11, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    The list is full of talented all rounders & its a good build up for WC 2015 !!!! a good job done by NZ board !!!!

  • SameOld on July 11, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    This actually comes as a bit of a surprise. The team leadership has stuck with these two for so long now that I was starting to think particularly Rutherford was undroppable.

    Now the question becomes whether they muck about with Neesh at the top, go back to Guppy, or somebody else gets a shot. Whichever way they go, Pakistan's attack will be a tough first assignment.

  • Min2000 on July 11, 2014, 0:31 GMT

    This is the best squad I've seen in years. The only mistake is cutting Rutherford. I like Munro, he's a match winner on his day but I cant see him playing more than a handful of T20s and ODIs over the next 12 months. So do we really need to contract him at the expense of a test opener who just needs some form?

  • 22many on July 10, 2014, 19:50 GMT

    @shanebond....I don't think anyone is saying drop Mills from the ODI team....but giving him a contract when you only see him for a few games every year...he is not the future so if he is good enough to play, pay him well for each game he plays.

  • on July 10, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    NZ performance for the last year or so has been admirable. They have a strong bowling attack and very decent batsmen in Taylor and Williamson. Good openers could make them a top side in world cricket. Craig was impressive in the West Indies and he further strengthens the spin attack. It's a bit early to be sure of his abilities, though.

  • CricketChat on July 10, 2014, 16:35 GMT

    Commendable job by NZ board. Ryder'a exclusion is a clear message to rest of NZ aspirants that they are expected to be disciplined as well perform.

  • BlakeHoulihan on July 10, 2014, 15:27 GMT

    I've never seen such a solid contract list. There's usually three or four questionable inclusions, but I feel everyone deserves their spot. The selection committee are finally on the right track. Very happy indeed.

  • HairyKiore on July 10, 2014, 13:56 GMT

    Who cares..its meaningless...Munro is doing nothing in County cricket...Jessie is performing but is exiled...Rutherford is just having a bad run but deserves to be contracted across all three forms of the game ... as for bowling ?? didn't the selectors see a young bowler from Winton playing for Otago in the HRV cup ..if not ring Styris and get an opinion???...As for Milne ..he will soon succomb to the terrible NZ crickets fitness training program as will others ...then just as I was starting to believe in Hessen etc they try to invent an opener from a lower order batsmen and even Latham with his good start has still not proven to me that he will succeed as an opener...Hk

  • hokeypokey on July 12, 2014, 3:13 GMT

    @bond, agree with22many..pay him a match fee and move on.give the contract to a young up in comer who is in the mix for all formats..time to move on, hes hard to hide in the feild.

  • on July 11, 2014, 7:01 GMT

    Jeet Raval didn't have the greatest FC but I think he deserves a shot. Has a solid technique and would fit in well with this team. If it doesn't work we can give Guptil another shot. Should stay away from Bracewell at the moment, the NZ team is making good strides but runs the risk of becoming to young. Theres enough stability in the rest of the team to experiment and search for the right opening option, presuming Latham continues his success which I am confident of.

  • anver777 on July 11, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    The list is full of talented all rounders & its a good build up for WC 2015 !!!! a good job done by NZ board !!!!

  • SameOld on July 11, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    This actually comes as a bit of a surprise. The team leadership has stuck with these two for so long now that I was starting to think particularly Rutherford was undroppable.

    Now the question becomes whether they muck about with Neesh at the top, go back to Guppy, or somebody else gets a shot. Whichever way they go, Pakistan's attack will be a tough first assignment.

  • Min2000 on July 11, 2014, 0:31 GMT

    This is the best squad I've seen in years. The only mistake is cutting Rutherford. I like Munro, he's a match winner on his day but I cant see him playing more than a handful of T20s and ODIs over the next 12 months. So do we really need to contract him at the expense of a test opener who just needs some form?

  • 22many on July 10, 2014, 19:50 GMT

    @shanebond....I don't think anyone is saying drop Mills from the ODI team....but giving him a contract when you only see him for a few games every year...he is not the future so if he is good enough to play, pay him well for each game he plays.

  • on July 10, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    NZ performance for the last year or so has been admirable. They have a strong bowling attack and very decent batsmen in Taylor and Williamson. Good openers could make them a top side in world cricket. Craig was impressive in the West Indies and he further strengthens the spin attack. It's a bit early to be sure of his abilities, though.

  • CricketChat on July 10, 2014, 16:35 GMT

    Commendable job by NZ board. Ryder'a exclusion is a clear message to rest of NZ aspirants that they are expected to be disciplined as well perform.

  • BlakeHoulihan on July 10, 2014, 15:27 GMT

    I've never seen such a solid contract list. There's usually three or four questionable inclusions, but I feel everyone deserves their spot. The selection committee are finally on the right track. Very happy indeed.

  • HairyKiore on July 10, 2014, 13:56 GMT

    Who cares..its meaningless...Munro is doing nothing in County cricket...Jessie is performing but is exiled...Rutherford is just having a bad run but deserves to be contracted across all three forms of the game ... as for bowling ?? didn't the selectors see a young bowler from Winton playing for Otago in the HRV cup ..if not ring Styris and get an opinion???...As for Milne ..he will soon succomb to the terrible NZ crickets fitness training program as will others ...then just as I was starting to believe in Hessen etc they try to invent an opener from a lower order batsmen and even Latham with his good start has still not proven to me that he will succeed as an opener...Hk

  • 4seamers on July 10, 2014, 11:54 GMT

    Guptil should get the nod for the Pakistan series. Which is fair enough. Will be a good test to see if he has improved. Esp against spin. If not, I would go BMac until he retires. Gives the next crop, ( Rutherford, O'Donnell etc.), a few years to get their game up to speed. Also gives Anderson a middle order spot, which he can make his own for the next 10+ years.

    Will be interesting to see how long Wagner can fend off the challenges from Henry and Milne too.

  • siddhartha87 on July 10, 2014, 11:24 GMT

    Makes sense. Fulton and Rutherford average in 20 s even after an extended run in tests.Latham has showed good temperament so far. Would like to see a more aggressive opener with him at the top. McCulum seems to be doing really well at no 5 so I would hate to see him going back to open the innings. It may sound weird but New Zeland should try Anderson at the top of the innings.

  • kiwicricketnut on July 10, 2014, 10:27 GMT

    @ abhijeetkumar928, i never doubted munro's talent, he's the only guy in the country who can reverse pull someone for six, the reason i think he's lucky to get a contract is where does he fit? he probably doesn't make any starting xi, maybe the t20 team at a stretch but he is still behind anderson and neesham in the t20 middle order so does he get a contract for being neesham and andersons back up, i actually don't mind that he got a contract, only about 16 of the 20 contracted guys get much game time the rest are usually contracted with an eye on the future and get the odd game here and there, i just struggle to see where he fits, t20 specialists don't carry alot of weight when it comes to contracts.

  • on July 10, 2014, 10:07 GMT

    Interesting to see Guptill still in the mix while he has not been selected to play recently; this shows that he has the 'behind the scenes mentality' to keep it real to NZC. Something which requires no off-field infringements I could say.

    That opening spot is still a slight concern for a young team that has great swing bowlers with a good middle order; atop 3 seasoned seniors (McCullum, Taylor and Williamson). Yes Kane is young but in my mind he is already a senior as far as skill is concerned, he will surpass many others... Mark my random commenting words!!

    Also @abhijeetkumar928 - you need to remember this is cricket, it should never be based on stats alone... Mentality, obligation and leadership should be considered from each and every player.... Regardless of statistics!

  • StevieS on July 10, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    Amit Rivankar well that is what he is trying to do, he is going to be opening the innings for northern Districts I believe but he will need to prove himself before he is given the chance at international level. I feel that Guptil who is apparently working hard on his game will full the 2nd opening position in tests.

  • on July 10, 2014, 9:46 GMT

    I feel that Dean Brownlie should be given a chance to open the innings. He was the only player who looked confident during the tours of Aust and SAF. He is also pretty handy bowler, and has often been underbowled. He has good leg-cutters as well as off-cutters. If he can concentrate little more on his bowling and add some fastish off-breaks and leg-breaks, he can replace a specialist spinner on tracks that are not conducive to spin bowling.

  • Winchester666 on July 10, 2014, 9:38 GMT

    Awesome that Matt Henry has been included, love the way he bowls.

  • ak928 on July 10, 2014, 9:12 GMT

    @Vikas sharma............jesse ryder is underrated.....not overrated @kiwicricketnut........munro is an exceptional talent and he deserves his chance more than anyone else............just look at his domestic record............strike rate is exceptional with very healthy averages.......he deserves his chance with the record he holds

  • on July 10, 2014, 9:05 GMT

    Kiwi fans who is your preferred option to open the batting with Latham now he has cemented his spot at the top and Fulton etc gone? I quite liked watching Rutherford as although he might fail a fair bit , he is dangerous if he gets in as he can score quickly. Has Rutherford ever been considered lower down the order around 6 or so with maybe promoting Neesham up a position? Always nice though to be in a position to have selection headaches.

  • kiwicricketnut on July 10, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    what a good looking contract list, munro could consider himself lucky but the rest deserve their place and all the dead wood has been cut, good work selectors. @ jordanious77, you can't leave mills out of the odi team, he's the best odi bowler we have now vettori's not playing, henry should still play but at the exspense of boult in your odi team, corey anderson can provide the left arm variation. your test team includes ravel and bracewell, im not convinced on ravel, he has always under achieved, bracewells numbers were good last year so maybe but i still think the best domestic batsman (ryder excluded) is craig cachopa but can he open?, he's probably second only to williamson in playing spin so might be handy against pakistan but as an opener he would have to dominate the quicks, im sure the selectors will experiment a bit with lathams partner so i hope he gets a go at some point

  • on July 10, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    @SLsup I wish I did that sort of work during my school days, would've done me a whole lotta good. Lol

    @Jordanious77 I'm not placing Wags in short formats but in tests he is a must. Millsy struggles in subcontinents where he can't cope with heat (34 after all) but he must play in World Cup. I think he'll retire in 1-2 years anyway so his spot is up for grabs. I wish Milne develops a bit of in or out swing for his sake and New Zealand's.

  • Jordanious77 on July 10, 2014, 8:25 GMT

    @Shane Bond. I agree on the Mills front, I didn't leave him out of my ODI team because he isn't good enough. I did it because he's getting a bit too old to bowl even 10 overs, he seems to struggle after the first few. AND I wanted to fit Milne in one of the squads. Odi/tests fit him the best but I don't think he's good enough to get into our test squad so ODI's it was.

    As for Henry, Wagner hasn't been in our best limited overs team. Henry is undoubtedly a better bowler than Wagner skill-wise, Wagner has a golden arm and the ability to bowl for long periods which makes him an asset in tests. But for Limited overs Henry is quality. Henry is also a real possibility for tests in the future, maybe not in the short term but he will be pressing Wagner in the test squad for the next few years, so is bound to get a look in eventually.

    I will also note that with Anderson/Neesham we have less need for a bowler who doesn't swing it. Henry is a clear swing bowler so offers something diff to wags

  • on July 10, 2014, 7:38 GMT

    hi A question to everyone......dont u think jesse ryder is an overrated player i mean records are good ..but the way he plays i dont think can be successfull in test cricket.

  • Sexysteven on July 10, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    Yea we have two issues spin and more so the openers I would stick with Latham and experiment for the other opener no point going back to the future they have had there chance my options for the 2nd opener are brownlie raval devcich Wilson and my out of the box option ronchi I would try him first he can compliment Latham by being aggressive like David Warner ronchi is in his thirties so if it don't work it don't matter then u can try the other options and hope one of them works to me it's worth a gamble trying ronchi as a opener trying the same thing isn't working so let's try something different and see what happen nothing to lose by taking apunt like that I reckon

  • SLSup on July 10, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    On Shane Bond's response to @ Charley: Now that's what I call Doing One's Homework! Way to go.

  • ak928 on July 10, 2014, 6:43 GMT

    @bobagorof...............jesse ryder averages more than 45 at first class level with a bowling average of 30 and averages more than 40 at the test level and a holds very healthy strike rate in odis and t20s...... and by the way.......he is playing a very very good role with both and bat for essex.......there is no point not playing him at the international level.......he is a very handy cricketer and deserves his chances.......and no one averages better than ryder at the 1st class level in the whole nz side......so he is by far the best........................alongside taylor and williamson for nz(others are no way near them)

  • on July 10, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    @Jordanious77 You can't leave Mills out of ODI team. And I won't be rushing any on bowlers to break the trio of Southee, Boult, Wagner. Wagner has done everything to play in the team and he does the donkey work which people don't like to see (and effects the averages etc). Henry still 23 can still play in odi's and t20's as he can be a good bat too but not in tests at the moment. Also I agree with @dabro Brownlie should be a must on Hard Tracks of Saffa and Aus.

  • Jordanious77 on July 10, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    I'm really happy with these contracts. Especially with Matt Henry, Milne and Neesham. I'm also stoked to see people not performing dropped from the contract list (Rutherford, Brownlie).

    Unlike a few (like abhijeet) I'm not sad to see Ryder left off. Of course they left him off. He hasn't done anything in the black jersey for ages, he needs to come back to NZ and prove himself before getting back into the black jersey, let alone getting a guarenteed contract!!

    MY TEAMS:

    T20 team: Williamson, Guptill, McCullum, Taylor, Neesham, Anderson, Ronchi, Nmac, Mclenaghan, Henry, Mills

    ODI team: Latham, Guptil, Williamson, Taylor, McCullum, Anderson, Watling/Ronchi, Neesham, Southee, boult, Henry. (Sodhi/Craig over Neesham/Guptil on spinning tracks)

    Test team: Latham, Bracewell/Raval/Neesham/McCullum, Williamson, Taylor, McCullum/look above, Anderson, Watling, Southee, boult, Wagner/Henry, Sodhi/Milne

    Henry is (in my opinion) guarenteed 3rd seamer for our limited overs teams. Thoughts?

  • on July 10, 2014, 5:36 GMT

    mills is a awesome odi bowller, one of the best death bowllers in the world through his whealth of experience. I don't want to see him dropped from odi's

  • daBro on July 10, 2014, 5:28 GMT

    Disappointed about Dean Brownlie...only guy who could standup to South Africa and Australia....heard of those 2 nations? Our successes still paper over some cracks....an Away Indian team and a mediocre West Indies...cmon...

  • on July 10, 2014, 5:13 GMT

    @Charley Miles So you mean to say Kyle Mills with an average of 26, strike rate 33, economy 4.7 and over 200 wickets (with a batting average of 16 for a no. 9) along with a World ranking of 11 to be dropped? If you drop him, who will replace him? He has had one of the best records in odi's as a bowler. Just because he operates at 120-135 doesn't mean he is ineffective.

  • bobagorof on July 10, 2014, 5:04 GMT

    @abhijeetkumar928: One hundred from 10 innings and an average of 31.70 isn't great reading from Ryder's time at Essex. Hardly banging the door down.

    Also, how can someone be 'by far' the best along with two other people? Wouldn't that make it pretty close between the three of them?

  • 4seamers on July 10, 2014, 4:45 GMT

    Exciting to see Henry and Milne in the mix. Both are at the right stage of development to warrant inclusion. Big fan of Ryder, but risk outweighs reward at the moment. Top stuff from this Selection/Coach/Captain regime.

  • on July 10, 2014, 4:32 GMT

    Surprised to see Mills in there. And regarding Ryder, he has hardly had a barnstorming time at Essex, bar a few solid performances. Loving the depth of talent in this team, and young talent at that. I don't shed tears for Fulton and Rutherford. Rutherford at least will be back in the frame in time as he is very talented! Also worth mentioning that just because a player isn't contracted, it doesn't mean they can't be thrust back into the baggy black.

  • ak928 on July 10, 2014, 3:12 GMT

    where is ryder??????scoring big tons for essex and also taking wickets(10 wicket hall too)..........its surprising not to see him........i think vy far he is the finest batsman of nz alongside williamson and taylor............nzc need to give him one more chance to improve his behavior.................because he can be very distructive with the bat.............exceptional tallent.........needs one more opportunity.....but nzc future is very bright anyway..........a no. of very good players in this 20 man squad

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  • ak928 on July 10, 2014, 3:12 GMT

    where is ryder??????scoring big tons for essex and also taking wickets(10 wicket hall too)..........its surprising not to see him........i think vy far he is the finest batsman of nz alongside williamson and taylor............nzc need to give him one more chance to improve his behavior.................because he can be very distructive with the bat.............exceptional tallent.........needs one more opportunity.....but nzc future is very bright anyway..........a no. of very good players in this 20 man squad

  • on July 10, 2014, 4:32 GMT

    Surprised to see Mills in there. And regarding Ryder, he has hardly had a barnstorming time at Essex, bar a few solid performances. Loving the depth of talent in this team, and young talent at that. I don't shed tears for Fulton and Rutherford. Rutherford at least will be back in the frame in time as he is very talented! Also worth mentioning that just because a player isn't contracted, it doesn't mean they can't be thrust back into the baggy black.

  • 4seamers on July 10, 2014, 4:45 GMT

    Exciting to see Henry and Milne in the mix. Both are at the right stage of development to warrant inclusion. Big fan of Ryder, but risk outweighs reward at the moment. Top stuff from this Selection/Coach/Captain regime.

  • bobagorof on July 10, 2014, 5:04 GMT

    @abhijeetkumar928: One hundred from 10 innings and an average of 31.70 isn't great reading from Ryder's time at Essex. Hardly banging the door down.

    Also, how can someone be 'by far' the best along with two other people? Wouldn't that make it pretty close between the three of them?

  • on July 10, 2014, 5:13 GMT

    @Charley Miles So you mean to say Kyle Mills with an average of 26, strike rate 33, economy 4.7 and over 200 wickets (with a batting average of 16 for a no. 9) along with a World ranking of 11 to be dropped? If you drop him, who will replace him? He has had one of the best records in odi's as a bowler. Just because he operates at 120-135 doesn't mean he is ineffective.

  • daBro on July 10, 2014, 5:28 GMT

    Disappointed about Dean Brownlie...only guy who could standup to South Africa and Australia....heard of those 2 nations? Our successes still paper over some cracks....an Away Indian team and a mediocre West Indies...cmon...

  • on July 10, 2014, 5:36 GMT

    mills is a awesome odi bowller, one of the best death bowllers in the world through his whealth of experience. I don't want to see him dropped from odi's

  • Jordanious77 on July 10, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    I'm really happy with these contracts. Especially with Matt Henry, Milne and Neesham. I'm also stoked to see people not performing dropped from the contract list (Rutherford, Brownlie).

    Unlike a few (like abhijeet) I'm not sad to see Ryder left off. Of course they left him off. He hasn't done anything in the black jersey for ages, he needs to come back to NZ and prove himself before getting back into the black jersey, let alone getting a guarenteed contract!!

    MY TEAMS:

    T20 team: Williamson, Guptill, McCullum, Taylor, Neesham, Anderson, Ronchi, Nmac, Mclenaghan, Henry, Mills

    ODI team: Latham, Guptil, Williamson, Taylor, McCullum, Anderson, Watling/Ronchi, Neesham, Southee, boult, Henry. (Sodhi/Craig over Neesham/Guptil on spinning tracks)

    Test team: Latham, Bracewell/Raval/Neesham/McCullum, Williamson, Taylor, McCullum/look above, Anderson, Watling, Southee, boult, Wagner/Henry, Sodhi/Milne

    Henry is (in my opinion) guarenteed 3rd seamer for our limited overs teams. Thoughts?

  • on July 10, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    @Jordanious77 You can't leave Mills out of ODI team. And I won't be rushing any on bowlers to break the trio of Southee, Boult, Wagner. Wagner has done everything to play in the team and he does the donkey work which people don't like to see (and effects the averages etc). Henry still 23 can still play in odi's and t20's as he can be a good bat too but not in tests at the moment. Also I agree with @dabro Brownlie should be a must on Hard Tracks of Saffa and Aus.

  • ak928 on July 10, 2014, 6:43 GMT

    @bobagorof...............jesse ryder averages more than 45 at first class level with a bowling average of 30 and averages more than 40 at the test level and a holds very healthy strike rate in odis and t20s...... and by the way.......he is playing a very very good role with both and bat for essex.......there is no point not playing him at the international level.......he is a very handy cricketer and deserves his chances.......and no one averages better than ryder at the 1st class level in the whole nz side......so he is by far the best........................alongside taylor and williamson for nz(others are no way near them)