Todd Astle earns first New Zealand contract
Todd Astle has been offered a New Zealand contract for the first time, 12 years after making his first-class debut for Canterbury.
The 31-year-old leg-spinner was rewarded for some strong ODI performances against West Indies and Pakistan last season while he also starred as the Black Caps beat England in the day-night Test in Auckland.
Astle has so far played three Tests, six ODIs and two T20Is since making his international debut in 2012 and will be in contention when the Kiwis play Tests against Pakistan in the UAE later this year.
He joins Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner as the other slow-bowlers in the 20-man contracted list.
New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen said: “Todd’s progress over the past 12 months has been exciting to see. When fit, he made the most of his opportunities in both Test and ODI cricket.
“We have a big summer ahead; we know Todd performs well in New Zealand conditions, and we also have a spin-friendly tour against Pakistan coming up.
“Between Todd, Ish and Mitchell our spin bowling stocks have probably never looked better.”
Allrounder James Neesham and Neil Broom were the two players that were not retained from last season’s nationally contracted players.
The new deals will take effect from 1 August.
Larsen continued: “Jimmy and Neil didn’t show the consistency required over the past year and we’d like to see them go back and demand our attention again through domestic performance.”
List of New Zealand contracted players: Corey Anderson, Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson, George Worker
Jonny Bairstow heading in the right direction in his recovery from injury
The 33-year-old Yorkshireman underwent successful surgery on a broken leg and dislocated ankle in September after a freak golf incident.
Jofra Archer enjoys new role as he bowls England to victory in South Africa
Archer did not open the bowling but produced career-best ODI figures.
Sir Andrew Strauss lauds ‘extraordinary leaders’ Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes
England’s men’s team have won nine of their 10 Test matches under the new regime.
Jofra Archer returns career-best ODI figures as England claim consolation win
England won the third and final match against South Africa but had already lost the series.
Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler hit hundreds as England fight back in South Africa
Buttler’s men are bidding to avoid a series clean sweep and a sixth successive loss in the ODI format.
Tom Curran taking break from red-ball cricket for ‘my body and my mental health’
The 27-year-old has endured injury problems in recent years.
Olly Stone hopes to play a role in an England pace trio during this year’s Ashes
Stone hopes to play a role this summer along with Jofra Archer and Mark Wood.
Olly Stone ready for whatever role is required to make England World Cup squad
‘Any way in the England team, I’ll snap someone’s hand off,’ said Stone.
Dane van Niekerk ‘absolutely broken’ to miss World Cup over fitness standards
The South Africa captain was unable to complete a two-kilometre run in the minimum required time.
Run of defeats has not damaged England’s confidence, insists Moeen Ali
The all-rounder is confident England will be in good shape for the defence of their World Cup crown.