The Mitchell McClenaghan effect might prompt New Zealand Cricket to consider taking the hard-line stance of New Zealand Rugby and Netball New Zealand, according to Central Districts coach Heinrich Malan.

"If you look at it from the Super Rugby franchises' perspective, if you don't play your rugby in New Zealand then you're not eligible to play for the All Blacks," said Malan, who felt NZ Cricket's challenge would be to present a structure whereby it could extract the best out of players.

He said the new agreement to be reached between NZ Cricket and its players at the end of the 2017-18 summer master agreement negotiations when they would nut out some hefty agenda points and time would tell.

"You'd obviously think domestic cricket has got to still be the best breeding ground for every player in New Zealand wanting to join the premier league party," he said.


The reality, Malan said, was overseas franchises were offering Kiwi talent an international platform in light of NZ Cricket CEO David White revealing the red-ball format schedule could be reduced to eight tests in a season compared to about a dozen in previous summers.

However, players might baulk at the proposal because that would be tantamount to a pay cut for them and tempt them to look elsewhere to top up their incomes.

"I think if you ask any cricketer around the world ... it's [test cricket] definitely still the pinnacle," he said, adding that white-ball cricket had no doubt become lucrative.

While the word is that test matches could mutate into four-day affairs, Malan said what was imperative was ensuring whatever was adopted would offer an exciting brand of cricket.

However, he hastened to add that the upset victories minnows Bangladesh and West Indies had posted last week over Australia and England also were a testimony to how the five-dayers were just as entertaining.

"I think it's just a case of trying to find a better balance at the end of the day but then it's always going to be tough with all these Twenty20 tournaments popping their heads up."

Malan said his country of birth, South Africa, were the latest arrivals with the launching of the Global T20 involving eight private teams to begin in November, on the heels of Indian IPL, Australian Big Bash and the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in the West Indies.

McClenaghan, he said, had gravitated towards T20s at the back-end of his career but other players had to weigh options.

Money or country? McClenaghan would probably have found that was the most difficult question to ask himself when he looked in the mirror.

"It'll have to be from an individual perspective, I reckon, on whether he has had the opportunity to play at a higher level or not, or whether you've had time on the international scene."

Unfortunately, Malan emphasised, international portfolios weren't seen as a prerequisite to playing T20.

Glenn Phillips, he said, was a classic example after the CPL picked up the Auckland Aces batsman.

"Unfortunately those guys have to look at dollar versus dollar and pound versus pound around the world as well as playing for six weeks or playing six months to make the same amount of money so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where they may end up in the near future."

Malan said the younger breed was more prone to committing to the red-ball format to carve a career.

"Some of the older guys are household names already so someone like McClenaghan has already played in the IPL and Caribbean Premier League," he said, suspecting the former CD Stag would have been in the Big Bash equation as well last summer but was tied up here on domestic duties with the Aces.

"Ultimately some of these older guys are plying their trade around becoming T20 mercenaries so, you know, it'll be interesting to know what the future holds for them from a New Zealand perspective once more and more guys decide to do that."

A CPL franchise had picked up ex-NZ batsman Jesse Ryder who CD were helping in his comeback.

"Jesse at the Caribbean Premier League at the moment and, to be fair, I'm sure he;s been approached to play in all sorts of leagues around the world.

"If you look at Jesse it's also an ultimate individual decision again but we've put some support around him to make sure he gets physically fit and we're also supporting his Indoor World Cup campaign which is coming up soon," said Malan.

If Ryder reaches that crossroads, he said it would be a discussion CD would be having with him sooner than rather later as they would, no doubt, with other players as well.

"Jessie's just one of several players in our environment who could get that opportunity to go play for the other leagues."

Black Caps leggie Ish Sodhi, he felt, was another classic example of someone who had found traction in the English county scene as well as his six-wicket haul in the Big Bash last summer when he was struggling to find game time here.

Malan said CD players such as Tom Bruce, Joshua Clarkson, Ben Wheeler and Seth Rance could easily become targets.

"Someone like Colin Munro has had one test so how long is he going to have that fire within him to make the test side or will he look at going freelance to become a T20 mercenary?"

NZ Cricket would need to make sure it cover its bases because "Mitchy McClenaghan has obviously started something that in time" would see players knock on NZC door.

The likes of George Worker, Bruce, Clarkson and Wheeler still saw merit in playing tests, he said, but domestic cricket couldn't compete from a monetary platform.

"Would that still be the same for them in 12 or 18 months? Time will tell us that."

Having had a taste of international cricket, Bruce and Wheeler were toiling throughout winter to ensure they could last the entire summer schedules.

"I would say our guys are 18 to 24 runs away from that when they have performed or haven't performed so they are all going to be approached because they have skill sets that international audiences like."

However, Malan said for now the Stags were safe but it was up to CD to keep challenging their squad to improve their game to represent the Black Caps, not just to survive but to compete.