Former New Zealand opener Jesse Ryder has found no takers among the six Major Associations in round one of contract distribution.
The associations announced their first list of contracted players for the 2018-19 season on Friday, part of a two-step contracting process in domestic cricket. They will contract 16 players each overall, one up from last season.
As per the rules, the associations are allowed to contract between ten and 15 players in round one, and will fill up their quota of 16 on June 30. Whether 33-year-old Ryder finds a new cricketing home then remains to be seen. For now, it seems like his team from the last three seasons, Central Districts, has moved on.
New Zealand Herald quoted Central Districts chief executive Pete De Wet as saying: "Jesse began his professional career for us way back in 2002-03, when he was a promising youngster himself at just 18. Later, after nine seasons representing the Wellington Firebirds and two seasons with the Otago Volts, we were delighted when his career came full circle in 2015-16 when we welcomed Jesse back.
"It was a very difficult decision not to offer Jesse a new contract, as we have appreciated his contribution to the team for the past three summers. However, ultimately, we have considered the balance of our squad and have elected to take a long-range view."
Ryder was one of only six batsmen to score over 600 runs last season in the first-class Plunket Shield. In seven matches for Central Districts, the eventual champions, Ryder scored 640 at 71.11 with two hundreds and three fifties. The highlight of his season was twin centuries from No. 5 in Nelson, to set up a 256-run drubbing of Auckland.
Here is the full list of players handed contracts in round one.
Auckland: Jamie Brown, Craig Cachopa, Mark Chapman, Danru Ferns, Michael Guptill-Bunce, Ben Horne, Ben Lister, Matt McEwan, Robbie O'Donnell, Glenn Phillips, Sean Solia, Will Somerville
Canterbury: Chad Bowes, Blake Coburn, Leo Carter, Andrew Ellis, Cameron Fletcher, Andrew Hazeldine, Kyle Jamieson, Ken McClure, Cole McConchie, Stephen Murdoch, Ed Nuttall, Henry Shipley, Will Williams, Theo van Woerkom
Central Districts: Doug Bracewell, Tom Bruce, Josh Clarkson, Dane Cleaver, Greg Hay, Christian Leopard, Willem Ludick, Ryan McCone, Ajaz Patel, Seth Rance, Bevan Small, Ben Smith, Blair Tickner, Ben Wheeler, Will Young
Northern Districts: James Baker, Peter Bocock, Dean Brownlie, Henry Cooper, Anton Devcich, Daniel Flynn, Zak Gibson, Brett Hampton, Nick Kelly, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Bharat Popli, Brett Randell, Tim Seifert, Joe Walker
Otago: Matt Bacon, Warren Barnes, Neil Broom, Mark Craig, Jacob Duffy, Josh Finnie, Shawn Hicks, Anaru Kitchen, Michael Rae, Mitch Renwick, Michael Rippon, Hamish Rutherford, Nathan Smith, Brad Wilson
Wellington: Hamish Bennett, Tom Blundell, Michael Bracewell, Devon Conway, Lauchie Johns, Iain McPeake, James Neesham, Ollie Newton, Malcolm Nofal, Jeetan Patel, Rachin Ravindra, Ben Sears, Logan van Beek, Luke Woodcock, Peter Younghusband