Rachin Ravindra and Pace Bowling Trio awarded first central contracts by New Zealand Cricket for 2024-25 season

Rachin Ravindra

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has revealed its 20-member central contract list for the upcoming 2024-25 season. New Zealand Cricket has added four new faces to the central contract list, including fast bowling trio Ben Sears, Jacob Duffy and Will O’Rourke, along with young all-rounder Rachin Ravindra.

Rachin Ravindra showcased his talents at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. The left-handed batsman finished as the fourth-highest run-scorer in the tournament with 578. Ravindra continued to impress during Test and T20I matches and won the ICC Emerging Player of the Year 2023 award in January.

It’s a very special group to be in – Rachin Ravindra

Rachin Ravindra expressed his delight at receiving his first contract offer with the BLACKCAPS and described it as a special moment. The 24-year-old cricketer said he has learnt a lot over the past 12 months in international cricket.

“As a kid I would see those contract lists coming out every year and think it would be great to be on that list one day, and for that to happen now is a turning point. It’s been a really great last 12 months playing international cricket. I’ve learned a lot and I’m definitely looking forward to continuing to improve and contribute to the BLACKCAPS,” Ravindra said, as quoted by Nzc.nz.

“It’s a very special group, from the players to the support staff, and that’s been the most enjoyable part, to be honest. Playing a sport you love with your friends for a living is something very special and I hold it very close to my heart,” he added.

Ajaz Patel returns to Central’s contract list

Ben Sears has had a breakthrough season for the BLACKCAPS in 2023-24. Sears made his Test debut against Australia in March and impressed with figures of four for 90 in the second innings. The 26-year-old pace bowler was selected as a travelling reserve in the squad for the recent ICC T20 World Cup 2024.

Will O’Rourke made his debut across all formats last year. On his Test debut against South Africa, he put up remarkable figures of nine for 93. Jacob Duffy earned his first international contract after 12 years. Duffy has played 14 T20Is and six ODIs for the Black Caps in his career, taking 11 wickets in each format.

Ajaz Patel has returned to the central contract list amid a busy red-ball match schedule, which includes upcoming overseas Test matches against Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and India. The left-arm spinner was already contracted for the 2020-21 and 2022-23 seasons. Fast bowler Blair Tickner has not been offered a contract.

Kane Williamson, Lockie Ferguson and Adam Milne have all opted out of central contracts. Williamson has been given an “occasional playing contract” for 2024-25 after stepping down as captain. Neil Wagner has been absent from the central contract list for the first time since 2013 after retiring from international cricket in February.

List of 20 players contracted by New Zealand: Finn Allen, Tom Blundell, Michael Bracewell, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Jacob Duffy, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Will O’Rourke, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Ben Sears, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Will Young.

Also Read: Rohit Sharma pays tribute to his ‘work wife’ Rahul Dravid with a quirky yet emotional farewell letter