Auckland, Sep 16 (IANS) Right-arm pace bowler Blair Tickner and top-order limited-over batter Finn Allen have got their first New Zealand Cricket (NZC) central contracts, effectively filling the vacancies created by the departures of pace-bowling stalwart Trent Boult and all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme, respectively.
Tickner has played six ODIs and 11 T20s for the Black Caps, while 23-year-old Wellington batsman Allen has already represented his country in eight ODIs and 13 T20s.
Both featured on New Zealand’s tours of Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands, and Allen also played in the most recent series in the West Indies and Australia.
New Zealand coach Gary Stead said each of the newcomers to the central contracts list had been close to the top-20 announced in May, and had taken their opportunities in the interim.
“Blair’s been in Black Caps squads for all three formats over the past 12 months, which is testament to his progress,” Stead was quoted as saying by New Zealand Cricket (NZC).
“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. He knows the environment, understands his role, and bowls with good pace and aggression.”
Stead said Allen deserved his promotion on the basis of the skill-set he offered, and the form demonstrated so far.
“Finn clearly has huge talent and potential,” he 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.”
New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham was offered one of the available contracts but declined — on the basis of pre-arranged agreements he had already struck with overseas domestic leagues.
As with other non-contracted players, Neesham will still be considered for New Zealand selection when available.