After his semi-final heroics vaulted New Zealand into their first ever World Cup final, allrounder Grant Elliott has become one of three additions to New Zealand Cricket's 20-man central contract list for 2015-16. In addition to Elliott, fast bowler Doug Bracewell has returned to the list after both were cut following the 2013-14 season.
New Zealand selectors had taken a gamble on Elliott, 36, by naming him in their World Cup squad in January despite not having played for New Zealand since November 2013. He repaid their faith in the semi-final against South Africa at Eden Park in Auckland, striking an unbeaten 84 and the winning six with a ball to spare to seal a four-wicket win, which put New Zealand into the final against Australia. Elliott also top-scored for New Zealand in the final at the MCG with 83.
Mitchell Santner is the third change in the updated list of centrally contracted players. The 23-year old left-arm spinning allrounder received a NZC central contract for the first time after making his international debut against England in June.
"Mitch is a player of genuine all-round ability," Mike Hesson, New Zealand coach and selector, said. "His appearance on this list is recognition of where we see his skills in all three forms of the game. My feeling is that we'll see a lot more of him with the bat, in particular, as he gains more experience.
"Doug deserved to return," Hesson said. "He's performed strongly and forced his way back into the fold - ultimately in longer-form cricket, although we continue to see him as a multi-skilled player."
Bracewell, 24, has played 19 Tests for New Zealand since making his debut against Zimbabwe in 2011. His last match was the second Test against Sri Lanka at Basin Reserve in January. Bracewell was included in New Zealand's Test squad for the recent tour of England but did not make the starting XI for either Test in the drawn series. In last season's Plunket Shield domestic first-class competition, Bracewell was tied for seventh with 33 wickets at an average of 28.39.
The contracts of legspinner Ish Sodhi and batsman Colin Munro were not renewed by NZC while Kyle Mills, who was previously contracted, had retired from all forms of cricket. Sodhi, 22, had played in 11 Tests since making his debut against Bangladesh in October 2013 but was dropped after struggling in the three-match series against Pakistan in the UAE last November, when he took eight wickets at an average of 67.62.
Munro, 28, played a lone Test and seven ODIs in addition to 15 T20s. He is currently playing County cricket with Worcestershire.
New Zealand central contract list for 2015-16: Corey Anderson, Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Grant Elliott, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson