Hardik Worah
16 Sep 2022 | 02:42 AM

James Neesham declines New Zealand contract

Blair Tickner and Finn Allen have been given their first central contracts

Right-arm seamer Blair Tickner and young dashing opener Finn Allen have been given their first New Zealand central contracts, while fast-bowling all-rounder James Neesham has declined one after initially being ignored from the original list earlier this year.

The former two come in as replacements for Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme. Left-arm seamer Boult pulled his name from the contract list to spend more time with his family and play more T20 leagues around the globe, while all-rounder de Grandhomme announced his retirement from international cricket after getting in the Big Bash League draft by Adelaide Strikers.

"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 (Black Caps) 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."

Right-handed opener Allen has played 13 T20Is and eight ODIs for New Zealand. He already has a T20I century to his name and has scored 334 runs at a strike rate of 169.54 in the shortest format of the game. Meanwhile, 28-year-old Tickner has picked up 21 wickets in 17 games across two white-ball formats.

"Finn clearly has huge talent and potential. 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," said New Zealand head coach Gary Stead.

"Blair's been in Blackcaps squads for all three formats over the past 12 months which is a testament to his progress. 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."

The Black Caps are set to announce their T20 World Cup squad on September 20, and will also play a tri-series in Christchurch featuring Pakistan and Bangladesh prior to the showpiece event in Australia.

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