Pugnacious batsman Craig Cachopa is returning to Auckland cricket, the recipient of one of the last two contracts for the coming summer.

Cashopa caught the eye in his first stint of three seasons from 2012-13 to 2014-15 with the province - top and tailed by seasons with Wellington - hitting five centuries, including a best of 203 against Wellington in February 2014, having back-to-back 780-plus summers.

Indeed in three successive seasons across all three forms, Cachopa hit 1309, 1196 and 945 runs, mostly made in assertive fashion. His first class average is 36.63 while his T20 strike rate is an impressive 130.

However he then headed to England to try his hand with Sussex. Now he's back and seems sure to bolster the Auckland middle order, especially one now without captain Rob Nicol, who has shifted to Otago.


"He's an experienced cricketer and that offsets (the loss of) Rob Nicol. He became an easy replacement," Auckland coach Mark O'Donnell said.

"I see him particularly around white ball cricket when you don't see the Black Caps (due to international commitments). He's got a good track record."

If the 25-year-old can recapture his best form he will be another batsman aiming to give the national selectors a nudge in the next couple of years.

The other final Auckland contract has gone to young fast bowler Ben Lister, who is likely to see some game time in the course of a lengthy season.

All provinces have named the bulk of their contracted players with a couple of spaces left for major associations to take stock of where they might be short, whereupon they can fill them with the last couple of selections.