New Zealand allrounder James Neesham has declined NZC’s fresh offer of a central contract, opting to honour his pre-arranged agreements to the T20 leagues around the world instead. Neesham had been left out of the initial 20-man list of central contracts for the 2022-23 season, but was now offered it again which he chose not to take up.
“I know the news of my decision to decline a central contract today will be seen as me choosing money over representing my country,” Neesham wrote on his Instagram account. “I had planned to accept a contract offer in July, however since being left off the list I have committed to other leagues around the world. It was a difficult decision but I have decided to honour those commitments rather than go back on my word to re-sign with NZ Cricket.
“Playing for the [Blackcaps] has been the greatest honour of my career and I remain committed to taking the field with my countrymen for the foreseeable future, especially in pinnacle world events.
Among new entrants in the contracted list of players are opening batter Finn Allen and pacer Blair Tickner. Tickner, the Central Stags pace bowler, has played six ODIs and 11 T20s for New Zealand, while 23-year-old Wellington batter Allen has already represented his country in eight ODIs and 13 T20s. Both featured on the tours of Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands, and Allen also played in the most recent series in the West Indies and Australia.
In the 13 T20Is he has played, Allen has hit 334 runs at a strike rate of 169.54. “Finn clearly has huge talent and potential,” New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said. “He’s shown he’s up to the international level in his limited opportunities to date. In particular, his match-winning 96 against West Indies on a difficult wicket in Barbados showed his class and maturity.”
“Blair’s been in the New Zealand squads for all three formats over the past 12 months which is testament to his progress,” he said. “He’s a bowler who just keeps improving and we’ve been particularly impressed with his red-ball development, which saw him in the recent squads for the England and South Africa Tests.