Wellington: Fast bowler Mark Gillespie, the comeback story of New Zealand's Test series against South Africa last summer, has missed out on a national contract for the next season. Gillespie was recalled to the New Zealand team for the second of its three Tests against South Africa in March after an absence of four years from the national squad.
Gillespie ran through the South Africa top order in the second Test at Hamilton, taking 5 for 59, and then took 6 for 113 in the first innings of the third Test at Wellington. But, though the 32-year-old Gillespie will shortly leave with the New Zealand team on its tour to the West Indies, he was not deemed good enough to receive one of the 20 national contracts announced on Wednesday by New Zealand Cricket.
Six players on last year's list have not had their contracts renewed. They are fast bowler Andy McKay, left-arm spinner Luke Woodcock, wicketkeeper Reece Young, all-rounder Neil Broom, fast bowler Hamish Bennett and Jesse Ryder, who chose to decline a contract.
Australia-born batsman Dean Brownlie, fast bowler Doug Bracewell, allrounder Andrew Ellis, legspinner Tarun Nethula and South Africa-born wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk have all been offered contracts for the first time, while allrounder James Franklin regains a contract after missing out last year.
The contracted players were chosen by Australians John Buchanan, New Zealand's director of cricket, and Kim Littlejohn, the national selection manager, along with assistant national coaches Trent Woodhill and Damien Wright. Current national coach John Wright, who will step down at the end of the West Indies tour, reportedly had little input into the selections.
Littlejohn said the players offered contracts were thought to be the best available to lead New Zealand. "We have five new contracted players and their addition reflects the strong performances they have put in over the past 12 months and the value they are expected to bring to the [New Zealand team] this coming year," he said. "It's an exciting time for the Black Caps with a number of important series in the 2012-13 season, including the ICC World Twenty20 tournament.
"We believe the contracted players will be integral to the success of the team in what will be a demanding period against highly-ranked opposition. There were some difficult decisions and it's disappointing for the players who did not have their contracts renewed. We are confident they will continue to work hard and look to force their way into the team through performance."
Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Dean Brownlie, Andrew Ellis, Daniel Flynn, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Chris Martin, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Tarun Nethula, Rob Nicol, Jacob Oram, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Kruger van Wyk, Daniel Vettori, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.