Glenn Phillips and Daryl Mitchell offered their first New Zealand central contracts

Glenn Phillips and Daryl Mitchell were key performers for New Zealand in their home summer © Getty Images

Glenn Phillips and Daryl Mitchell have been offered their first New Zealand central contracts, for the 2021-22 season. However, Ajaz Patel, who won his first deal last year, has been omitted from the 20-member list.

BJ Watling, who had announced his decision to retire from all forms of cricket after the World Test Championship (WTC) final in June, dropped out of the list.

Phillips had dislodged Ross Taylor to become a permanent member of the T20I side, slotting into the middle order and even pitching in with his quickish offbreaks. He even reeled off New Zealand’s fastest T20I century, off 46 balls, against West Indies, at the Bay Oval in November last year. In all, Phillips played 14 T20Is last summer, hitting 366 runs at an average of 40.66 and strike rate of just under 185.

As for Mitchell, he stepped in for Colin de Grandhomme, who had been sidelined from the entire home summer with injury, and played key roles across formats. He struck his maiden Test and ODI centuries in addition to contributing with the ball.

“I’d like to congratulate all the players offered agreements for the coming season and in particular newcomers Daryl and Glenn,” New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen said in a media release. “Receiving your first national contract is a great moment in any player’s career and both thoroughly deserve their elevation. 

“There’s no question Daryl and Glenn took their games to another level over the summer and have added to the growing depth of talent we now enjoy.”

Patel, the left-arm fingerspinner, had missed the start of the last season with a calf injury and although he subsequently made a comeback in domestic cricket, New Zealand opted against rushing him back into Test action on pitches that largely favoured seamers.

Patel, though, is back in the Test squad for the upcoming tour of England, and Larsen indicated that he was “very much” part of the side’s plans in overseas conditions. He is part of a strong spin attack that will also include two other left-arm fingerspinners – Mitchell Santner and the uncapped Rachin Ravindra

“After such a successful summer in which we used a variety of players across the three formats, there was always going to be a squeeze on for positions and, unfortunately, Ajaz has been a victim of that success,” Larsen said.

“He missed the start of the Test season with his calf injury and was unable to make it back into the side during a summer in which seam and swing dominated. However, we are well aware of Ajaz’s value as a frontline spinner, particularly in overseas conditions and he’s therefore still very much in our thinking going forward.”

Under the terms of NZC’s agreement with the NZCPA (the players’ union), the 20 men offered deals have until May 22 to accept or decline the contracts.

NZ contracts list for 2021-22: Tom Blundell, TrentBoult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, MattHenry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, James Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor,Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young

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Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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