Sinclair regains NZC contract

Mathew Sinclair, the opening batsman, was among the 20 players to receive contracts from New Zealand Cricket for the 2006-2007 season. Sinclair, who missed out on a contract last year, after averaging only 28.33 from four Tests in 2004, bounced back with a strong season for Central Districts where he scored 664 runs with three centuries and four fifties from nine domestic matches.

Jamie How, Ross Taylor and Michael Mason, Sinclair's Central Districts team-mates, were handed contracts for the first time while Peter Fulton, the tall opener, and Jeetan Patel, the offspinner, also got on the list for the first time. How and Fulton were tried as opening partners to Michael Papps in New Zealand's recent tour to South Africa, after Hamish Marshall cracked his ribs in the first Test.

"Mathew Sinclair was last year asked by the selectors to go back to domestic cricket and prove himself," said Lindsay Crocker, manager of the New Zealand team. "He did that and is now seen as an international option, particularly as a Test player.''

"Andre Adams, Jamie How and Ross Taylor are all considered likely to play a role for the Black Caps in the coming year. Jeetan Patel and Peter Fulton have made solid progress as international players during the past year.''

The contracts of Chris Cairns, who retired last year, Craig Cumming, Chris Harris, James Marshall, Daryl Tuffey, Craig McMillan and Paul Wiseman, have not been renewed.

"The door is not closed on players who have not been offered contracts. Each year players from outside the list are selected for the Black Caps and players have an opportunity to force their way into the side through domestic cricket performances and through the international A program which begins next month. The players who missed out on NZC contracts are likely to pick up Major Association contracts when they are announced on July 15."

Crocker was also confident that Tuffey would be back in the New Zealand team by December this year, if his rehabilitation went according to plan. Tuffey injured his shoulder and has been out of action since June 2005. Expressing regret at Craig McMillan, the New Zealand allrounder, missing out on the contract, Crocker said that he would be up for selection to the one-day squad, while Chris Harris would make the cut depending on injuries and how other players perform.

Players on the list are ranked one to 20 and receive retainers from New Zealand cricket of between New Zealand$125,000 (US$79,000) and NZ$45,000 (US$28,000) on a sliding scale.

Full list of contracted players: Andre Adams, Nathan Astle, Shane Bond, Stephen Fleming, James Franklin, Peter Fulton, Jamie How, Hamish Marshall, Chris Martin, Michael Mason, Brendon McCullum, Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Michael Papps, Jeetan Patel, Mathew Sinclair, Scott Styris, Ross Taylor, Daniel Vettori, Lou Vincent.