New Zealand have given Shane Bond a clear indication that he is in their plans for the next year after being handed a central contract for 2009-10. Bond, who gave up his national deal when he joined the ICL 18 months ago, is one of seven additions to the New Zealand squad following sweeping changes that have led to Scott Styris, Aaron Redmond and five others losing their spots.
Jamie How, Mark Gillespie, Peter Fulton, James Marshall and Michael Mason were also axed from the 20-man group after slipping out of the national side during the past year. Joining Bond in the squad are six men who have been offered contracts for the first time: Grant Elliott, Tim McIntosh, Martin Guptill, Ian Butler, Neil Broom and Brent Arnel.
The inclusion of Bond, 34, is another step towards his international return after he severed ties with the ICL having not played for his country since November 2007. The head of the selection panel, Glenn Turner, said New Zealand were hopeful Bond could make valuable contributions to New Zealand over the next year.
"Shane Bond is confident he can continue to contribute to the Black Caps," Turner said. "He has performed well in the shorter form of the game at domestic level - while his international track record is outstanding."
Unlike Bond, there was no room in the top 20 for Daryl Tuffey, who is also hoping for a return to international cricket following his time in the ICL. More of a surprise was the omission of Redmond, How, Styris and Fulton, all of whom have been regular or semi-regular members of the New Zealand side over the past year.
"Some experienced players have missed out as a result of new players forcing their way into the top twenty and that's a good sign for the game," Turner said. "Players who have missed out on contracts have the opportunity to play their way into the Black Caps in the domestic season, or through the A team and Emerging Players tours."
The past 12 months has been a period of change for New Zealand with the emergence of new players like McIntosh, Elliott and Guptill. Turner said Guptill in particular was one man who had thrilled the selectors with his early international outings.
"He has played his way into being considered a core squad member," Turner said. "His ODI average is already ahead of other leading players, and for his age shows the promise of more to come."
New Zealand's next commitment is a tour of Sri Lanka starting in August. They are scheduled to play two Tests, five one-day internationals and two Twenty20s.
New Zealand contracted players Brent Arnel, Shane Bond, Neil Broom, Ian Butler, Grant Elliott, James Franklin, Daniel Flynn, Martin Guptill, Gareth Hopkins, Brendon McCullum, Tim McIntosh, Chris Martin, Kyle Mills, Iain O'Brien, Jacob Oram, Jeetan Patel, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Daniel Vettori.