Jimmy Neesham declines New Zealand contract, Blair Tickner and Finn Allen handed deals

Jimmy Neesham declines New Zealand contract, Blair Tickner and Finn Allen handed deals
The pair fill the spaces created by the departure of Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme from the list. Boult stepped away from his contract earlier this year to allow him more time with family and the ability to play T20 leagues around the world, while de Grandhomme retired from international cricket shortly after being picked in the BBL draft by Adelaide Strikers.

Neesham was offered one of the two vacant spots but turned it down having already committed to various T20 tournaments since his omission from the original list.

“I know the news of my decision to decline a central contract today will be seen as me choosing money over representing my country,” Neesham posted on an Instagram story. “I had planned to accept a contract offer in July, however since being left off the list I have committed to other leagues around the world. It was a difficult decision but I have decided to honour those commitments rather than go back on my word to re-sign with NZ Cricket.

“Playing for the [Blackcaps] has been the greatest honour of my career and I remain committed to taking the field with my countrymen for the foreseeable future, especially in pinnacle world events.”

Neesham has his name in for the SA20 league which has its auction on September 19.

The new inclusions have featured in New Zealand’s limited-overs sides in recent months. Allen is a highly-regarded talent who can expect to be included for the upcoming T20 World Cup have already made 334 runs at a strike-rate of 169.54 in 13 matches. In ODIs he has played eight times, making a vital 96 on the tour of West Indies last month and impressing when he came back into the team for the final match against Australia in Cairns.

“Finn clearly has huge talent and potential,” New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said. “He’s shown he’s up to the international level in his limited opportunities to date. In particular, his match-winning 96 against West Indies on a difficult wicket in Barbados showed his class and maturity.”

Tickner has played six ODIs and 11 T20Is, most recently against Netherlands, and was part of the initial touring squad for the Test series in England earlier this year.

“Blair’s been in Blackcaps squads for all three formats over the past 12 months which is testament to his progress,” Stead said. “He’s a bowler who just keeps improving and we’ve been particularly impressed with his red-ball development, which saw him in the recent squads for the England and South Africa Tests. He knows the environment, understands his role, and bowls with good pace and aggression.”

New Zealand will name their T20 World Cup squad on September 20. They will prepare for the tournament with a tri-series in Christchurch featuring Pakistan and Bangladesh from October 7-14. Their first match of the World Cup is against hosts Australia at the SCG on October 22.

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