The first round of 15 contracts have been offered to Otago Volts players this week as the squad shapes up for the 2021/22 season, including Te Awamutu's Jake Gibson.
In compiling the list of offers, an Otago Cricket contract review group, managed by performance and talent manager Simon Forde, engaged coaching staff including new head coach Dion Ebrahim, Volts' selectors and NZC high performance staff to consider the agreed contract criteria as set out in the master agreement.
Forde highlighted that the goal of the contracting period is always to improve the squad on the previous years.
"Throughout our contracting process, Otago Cricket are always looking to improve on last season's efforts. We have added some quality cricketers to an already outstanding group, and can't wait for the 2021/22 season to get under way," said Forde.
The contract group includes two new names - that of right-arm pace bowler, Angus McKenzie, and Jake Gibson, who impressed in a handful of games for Northern Districts in the 2020/21 season.
Bowling all-rounder Gibson burst onto the NZ domestic cricket scene with a five-wicket haul on list-A debut for Northern Districts last year – an achievement Gibson is obviously proud of.
"Also, playing NZ XI games against England and testing myself against the best in the world was a pretty cool experience," he says.
He was a consistent performer in Northern Districts "men's A" programme and will provide Otago with another right-arm bowling option.
"It meant a lot to get given an opportunity to make the move down to Otago, and further develop myself as a player and a person. I'm looking forward to getting down there and getting stuck in, hopefully with more time on the field," says Gibson.
"It was a tough decision to leave Northern Districts and the mighty Te Awamutu but it felt like the right time to do so."
Coach Ebrahim commented that Gibson's ability to fill multiple roles within the squad made him an exciting prospect.
"He (Jake) can take both the new ball or be a first change option meaning he will compliment and bolster our bowling stocks across all formats," says Ebrahim.
"He has the attributes to become a fine all-rounder and is keen to make his mark with the bat. He will be an exciting addition into our environment."
Gibson has been to Dunedin twice before to play cricket.
"The first got rained out, the second I slipped and rolled my ankle in the first ball I bowled in the game. Looking to improve the track record there!
"I would love to win a title with Otago, but ultimately I just want to be able to contribute on and off the field as much as I can."
One Volts contract position remains open. Otago Cricket will submit its final contract offer to NZC and NZCPA on June 27 with this final offer accepted or declined on July 7.