Ten New Zealand women cricketers have been awarded annual playing contracts by New Zealand Cricket. It is the first time a select group has been retained on annual contracts, having previously only been paid assembly fees when training and playing for the national team.
Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen and Felicity Leydon-Davis are some of the newcomers that have made it to the list, which also includes experienced players like captain Suzie Bates, Sara McGlashan and Rachel Priest. However, allrounder Nicola Brown had opted out, owing to her job commitments with the Hamilton City Council which restricts her availability for every tour.
"This group of players are expected to form the core of our team over the next 12 months and likely play a key role in how successful we are during this time," women's coach Hamish Barton said.
"Young players like Felicity Leydon-Davis and Hayley Jensen really took their opportunities during the summer and we're excited about their ongoing development. That's balanced out by more experienced players like Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine, so there's a good mix in there.
"It's a busy upcoming summer for us and I know that both myself and the team are incredibly excited about the opportunities in front of us, beginning with our tour of the West Indies in September."
The contracts, which run from August 1 2014 to July 31 2015, come under the terms of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NZC and the New Zealand Cricket Players Association (NZCPA). The contracts have been structured in a manner similar to the men's senior team, with the top 10 players receiving an annual retainer based on a ranking process involving T20 and ODI cricket. The contract retainers are tiered between $10,000 to $12,000 per annum and also provide for daily assembly fees for all players selected for training camps and international tours. Players outside the top-ten bracket will receive a casual playing contract when they are selected in the team.