Movement of players within New Zealand's domestic cricket has resulted in a re-balancing of player experience, especially when international players are taken out of the picture.

One of the aims of the player contract system was to have the best 66 players in the country looked after by way of security provided by a contract. But, in actual fact, 88 players are catered for, the number being bolstered by 20 players on international contracts and two overseas qualified players.

The breakdown of international players in associations is significant. The list reads: Auckland (five), Canterbury (seven), Central Districts (two), Northern Districts (five), Otago (0) and Wellington (one). Central Districts and Otago also have Craig Spearman and Mohammad Wasim, respectively, as overseas contracted players.

That puts significant pressure on Auckland, Canterbury and Northern Districts to have back-up players in their squads to cater for the absence of their international players and they have 16, 18 and 16 players respectively when the internationals are included with their domestic players.

Combined experience of entire contracted squads:

PlayersTestsODIsFCLAAuckland1679190740951Canterbury1822177910151705Central Districts1443127536700Northern Districts1691250672899Otago121929530490Wellington1290270683910
Note: figures are as at the domestic contracts announcement date of July 15.

Just what having a high contribution rate of international players can mean to a side is demonstrated in Canterbury's case. Without their internationals, Canterbury's remaining 11 players total 329 first-class games between them, and 322 List A one-day matches.

The seven internationals among them have 686 first-class matches between them and 1383 List A matches. So when the majority of players are required for international matches, Canterbury can lose up to two-thirds of its experience in first-class play, and 80% in one-day matches. Admittedly, part of Canterbury's numbers are affected by Chris Cairns' play for Nottinghamshire.

Auckland by comparison strikes a better balance. Its remaining players have 420 first-class games between them and 513 List A one-dayers. Their five internationals have 320 first-class games and 438 List A one-dayers experience between them.

Wellington, with only one internationally contracted player, gains the advantage of having so few players involved, as it can call on a group of players with 524 first-class matches and 603 List A games. That is the most experience in both categories for all teams.

Not surprisingly, given they have no international players contracted, Otago has the second highest number of first-class matches in their squad with 422, and third-highest with 406 in the List A games.

Combined experience of domestic contracted squads:

----- internationals missing ------FCLAPlayersTestsODIsFCLAAuckland420513571159320438Canterbury32932272057696861383Central Districts29332422473122202Northern Districts370341576237302558Otago4224060----Wellington524603175202159307
Of those players it is interesting to note, the international experience that is included.

Combined international experience of domestic squads:

PlayersTestsODIsAuckland4831Canterbury31610Central Districts203Northern Districts21513Otago314Wellington41568
Note: the above two tables only include matches played by the 11 players with domestic association contracts and not overseas contracted players Craig Spearman (CD) and Mohammad Wasim (Otago).

When the Black Caps are unavailable, the provinces will rely on 20 remaining players who have had international experience.

Non-international contracted players with Test experience:

TestsCraig SpearmanCD19Mohammad WasimO18Matthew HartND14Matthew BellW13Chris MartinC11Brooke WalkerA5Gary SteadC5Kerry WalmsleyA3James FranklinW2David SewellO1Hamish MarshallND1
Non-international contracted players with ODI experience:

ODIsCraig SpearmanCD51Chris NevinW32Mohammad WasimO25James FranklinW24Matthew HartND13Llorne HowellA12Brooke WalkerA11Paul HitchcockA8Matthew BellW7Chris MartinC7Andrew PennW5Jeff WilsonO4Glen SulzbergerCD3Warren WisneskiC3
The manner in which New Zealand has largely kept its Test side together, barring injuries in recent times, is reflected in the developing core of experience in the side.

The list of most Tests played by the contracted Black Caps now reads: Stephen Fleming 75, Nathan Astle 57, Chris Cairns 55, Daniel Vettori 46, Craig McMillan 44, Matt Horne 35, Mark Richardson 24, Chris Harris 23, Mathew Sinclair 20, Paul Wiseman 16, Daryl Tuffey 14, Lou Vincent 11, Shane Bond 10, Robbie Hart 7, Scott Styris 5, Jacob Oram 4, Ian Butler 4, Andre Adams 1.

Fleming, if he was to play every Test between the start of the India tour in September and the Bangladesh tour in October next year, would overtake Sir Richard Hadlee's record of 86 Test appearances for New Zealand.

He is also climbing the list of most appearances as a captain. He will share sixth with Steve Waugh when the Australian captain leads his side out at Cairns on Friday on 51 appearances, but by the time he plays six more Tests, Fleming will be third on the all-time list. Those ahead of him are: Allan Border 93, Clive Lloyd 74, Arjuna Ranatunga 56, Mike Atherton 54, Hansie Cronje 53.

The list of most ODIs played by the contracted Black Caps reads: Chris Harris 230, Stephen Fleming 202, Nathan Astle 174, Chris Cairns 167, Craig McMillan 130, Daniel Vettori 111, Scott Styris 64, Lou Vincent 56, Daryl Tuffey 51, Matt Horne 50, Jacob Oram 40, Mathew Sinclair 33, Andre Adams 28, Shane Bond 27, Brendon McCullum 26, Kyle Mills 21, Paul Wiseman 15, Ian Butler 9, Mark Richardson 4, Robbie Hart 2.

The first-class, List A and combined match experience of all the international contractees as well as the top 20 domestic/overseas players in each category are listed below.

Most first-class matches played:

International contractees

Chris Cairns198Stephen Fleming159Mark Richardson128Nathan Astle124Paul Wiseman112Matt Horne103Chris Harris101Craig McMillan98Robbie Hart96Mathew Sinclair86Daniel Vettori80Scott Styris54Daryl Tuffey53Lou Vincent40Jacob Oram36Shane Bond36Kyle Mills26Andre Adams23Ian Butler19Brendon McCullum17
Domestic/overseas contractees

Matthew HartND122Craig SpearmanCD121Mohammad WasimO108Matthew BellW101Llorne HowellA79Michael ParlaneW78Gary SteadC78Craig CummingO67Glen SulzbergerCD66Chris GaffaneyO66Brooke WalkerA66Robbie LawsonO64Warren WisneskiC64Richard JonesW64Andrew PennW63Aaron BarnesA61Chris NevinW57James MarshallND55David SewellO55Chris MartinC52
Most List A matches played:

International contractees

Chris Harris359Chris Cairns342Stephen Fleming307Nathan Astle292Craig McMillan217Daniel Vettori160Scott Styris136Robbie Hart125Matt Horne119Daryl Tuffey114Mathew Sinclair109Lou Vincent105Jacob Oram93Mark Richardson91Paul Wiseman85Andre Adams65Kyle Mills58Shane Bond53Brendon McCullum35Ian Butler23
Domestic/overseas contractees

Craig SpearmanCD174Chris NevinW120Llorne HowellA118Matthew HartND109Michael ParlaneW106Aaron BarnesA103Matthew BellW102Gary SteadC90Mohammad WasimO84Robbie LawsonO83Glen SulzbergerCD74Chris GaffaneyO73Warren WisneskiC72Brooke WalkerA70Richard JonesW65Andrew PennW60Hamish MarshallND58Campbell FurlongCD56Gareth HopkinsO56Matthew WalkerW55
Most combined first-class and List A matches played:

International contractees

Chris Cairns540Stephen Fleming466Chris Harris460Nathan Astle416Craig McMillan315Daniel Vettori240Matt Horne222Robbie Hart221Mark Richardson219Paul Wiseman197Mathew Sinclair195Scott Styris190Daryl Tuffey167Lou Vincent145Jacob Oram129Shane Bond89Andre Adams88Kyle Mills84Brendon McCullum52Ian Butler42
Domestic/overseas contractees

Craig SpearmanCD295Matthew HartND231Matthew BellW203Llorne HowellA197Mohammad WasimO192Michael ParlaneW184Chris NevinW177Gary SteadC168Aaron BarnesA164Robbie LawsonO147Glen SulzbergerCD140Chris GaffaneyO139Brooke WalkerA136Warren WisneskiC136Richard JonesW129Andrew PennW123Craig CummingO121Gareth HopkinsO107James MarshallND103Hamish MarshallND100