No deal but Cleaver in frame
Central Districts will be going into the season without a specialist wicketkeeper on their books, but Manawatu's Dane Cleaver won't let it bother him.
Usual CD gloveman Kruger van Wyk is likely to miss a lot of game time while with the Black Caps and it seemed as if Cleaver would have been assured a spot on this year's contract list.
After the initial 13 contracted players were named last month, Manawatu all-rounder Roald Badenhorst got the final spot when the last contract was announced yesterday.
CD reassured Cleaver he would be in the picture even though he wasn't in their top 14.
"They think Kruger's going to be there for the four-dayers but not much for the shorter format," he said.
"So I suppose that's positive for me if I keep working hard, hopefully play quite a lot of the shorter format.
"To be be honest for me it's about getting game time and when it comes down to it, it would be good to have a contract but at the end of the day, it's only money.
"I want to establish myself and get a contract and I'm only going to do that by playing games."
Cleaver has played four first-class games and two one-day games for the Stags but has only had two turns at bat in the Plunket Shield.
He has scored one half century and has an average of 40.
"There's not really much I can do about it,' he said.
"I don't know what they're thinking. Their explanation is because Bevan [Small] might be getting surgery if Milney's [Adam Milne] in the Twenty20 World Cup squad, they could be a bowler short; that's why they chose Roald over me.
"But if you look at it from the other angle, who's going to keep?"
Wanganui batsman Ben Smith, a former age-group keeper, is the closest thing to a wicketkeeper on the contract list.
Cleaver said there are a lot of extra things a keeper has to do above just catching the ball, like motivating and leading the team which was second nature to him but would be hard for Smith to pick up again.
There was no bad blood between best mates Cleaver and Badenhorst.
And Cleaver said it was now a matter of going out there to prove he was worthy.
"It's a matter of getting the confidence, putting in big performances.
"There's a lot of cricket this summer with Hawke Cup and the Stags; it's pretty packed out."
Cleaver didn't consider trying to crack it with another association and was keen to stick it out on his home patch.
"I've been a CD boy right the way through even if they're not going to show any loyalty in me.
"I've always been a reasonably loyal person and there's better opportunities to stay here."
Central Districts:Roald Badenhorst (Manawatu), Carl Cachopa (Hawke's Bay), Jamie How (Manawatu), Marty Kain (Nelson), Andrew Mathieson (Hawke's Bay), Adam Milne (Manawatu), Kieran Noema-Barnett (Hawke's Bay), Jeet Raval (Hawke's Bay), Dean Robinson (Taranaki), Mathew Sinclair (Hawke's Bay), Bevan Small (Manawatu), Ben Smith (Wanganui), Ben Wheeler (Marlborough), William Young (Taranaki).