Cricket: Cricket selectors looking more at promise than past glory

By David Leggat

The captain receives an extra whack for wearing the arm band. Photo / Getty Images
The captain receives an extra whack for wearing the arm band. Photo / Getty Images

When New Zealand coach Mike Hesson confirmed new names would be on the list of the 20 nationally contracted players for the coming year, it wasn't exactly a jaw-dropper.

Several players from last year's list won't be there for various reasons when the names are released today.

Dan Vettori has absented himself as he recovers from surgery; Jacob Oram opted out early in the period; Chris Martin has retired; Tarun Nethula, Kruger van Wyk, Daniel Flynn and Rob Nicol haven't done enough to warrant retention.

Several factors are considered in coming up with 25 players - the bottom five will get high-end major association contracts when that list is made public shortly.

One key point to consider is looking ahead, not back. So performances over the past 12 months, while not forgotten, are usually outweighed by what the panel believe a player can offer in the coming year.

A weighting system is used to demonstrate the primacy of the test game over the shorter forms, as is right. It ensures test specialists are in the frame, even though they may don the colours far fewer times in the period than allround performers. That said, those available in all three forms - should it come to a head-to-head with a test-only rival - can be seen to have more overall value.

Several core players are certain to be in the top half of the list.

Captain Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Tim Southee, Kane Williamson, Trent Boult and Martin Guptill fit those criteria. The placings in the extended batting order aren't revealed but it's safe to assume either McCullum or Taylor would be No1.

The captain receives an extra whack for wearing the arm band, but as he leads all three teams, considering the substantial responsibility that entails, McCullum should be top dog.

Those seen as test-only players for now include opener Hamish Rutherford - and this year might be the time he breaks into the ODI side - and Doug Bracewell.

Canterbury batsmen Peter Fulton and Dean Brownlie - both test centurymakers last summer - should be in, but in the bottom half.

One-day specialists such as Kyle Mills, Nathan McCullum and Mitchell McClenaghan are shoo-ins.

One new name who could make it is Canterbury seamer Matt Henry, after a strong domestic season.

Contract list

A possible list of the 20 players to receive national contracts in rough order:
Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Hamish Rutherford, Kyle Mills, Nathan McCullum, BJ Watling, Doug Bracewell, Neil Wagner, Corey Anderson, Tom Latham, Peter Fulton, Dean Brownlie, Grant Elliott, Matt Henry, Adam Milne.

- NZ Herald

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