Neil Wagner left out of contracted Black Caps

04:29, Jun 20 2012
Neil Wagner
FIRST CRACK: Otago pace bowler gets his chance to impress for the Black Caps in a warmup fixture ahead of the West Indies test series.

Neil Wagner is the surprise omission from the New Zealand Cricket list of 20 contracted players announced today

The South Africa-born, left-armer became eligible for the Black Caps earlier this year and was immediately selected in the test squad for the upcoming tour of the West Indies.

He was widely expected to be offered one of New Zealand Cricket's 20 central contracts and has been the top wicket-taker in the Plunket Shield for the past two seasons.

However, the fact he is yet to prove his worth at international level clearly counted against him.

The big winners are James Franklin - who regains a contract after missing out last season - and Doug Bracewell, Andrew Ellis, Kruger van Wyk, Tarun Nethula and Dean Brownlie - who are all contracted for the first time.

Bracewell established himself as one of team's premier fast bowlers during the summer after bursting on to the scene with his match-winning 6-40 in New Zealand's historic test win against Australia in Hobart.

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Franklin's big hitting makes him a valuable member of the Twenty20 team, while Ellis, van Wyk, Nethula and Brownlie all performed creditably when given an opportunity last season.

National Selection Manager, Kim Littlejohn, said the five new contracted players all deserved their promotion.

"Their addition reflects the strong performances they have put in over the past 12 months and the value they are expected to bring to the Black Caps this coming year," he said.

The other notable omissions from the squad are fast bowlers Mark Gillepsie and Hamish Bennett.

Gillespie starred in the last two home tests of the summer against South Africa after being recalled from the international wilderness.

He took 5-59 in the first innings in Hamilton and followed that up with career-best figures of 6-113 in Wellington.

However, ongoing injury problems appeared to have counted against both Gillespie and Bennett.

Bennett, who was contracted last season, has been out of top-level cricket with a back problem for more than 12 months, while Gillespie has a long history of injury trouble and is currently battling an ankle problem.

The other players to be cut from the national contract list are Neil Broom, Andy McKay, Jesse Ryder, Luke Woodcock and Reece Young.

Ryder is taking an indefinite break from cricket as  he works through unspecified personal issues.

Although it seems he was unlikely to have been offered a contract anyway after yet another breach of team protocol which saw he and Bracewell dropped following an altercation with a member of the public in a Napier bar in February.

Broom, McKay, Woodcock and Young have all fallen out of favour with selectors in the past 12 months
A set criteria is used to rank players across all three forms of the game with test cricket receiving twice the weighting of ODIs and Twenty20 internationals.

The players with the highest aggregate scores are then offered NZC contracts.

Players on the NZC list are ranked one to 20 and paid annual retainers accordingly. The highest-ranked earns $181,000, plus match payments, while No 20 gets $73,000. The rankings remain confidential.

NZC contracted players:

Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Dean Brownlie, Andrew Ellis, Daniel Flynn, James Franklin Martin Guptill, Chris Martin, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Tarun Nethula, Rob Nicol, Jacob Oram, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Kruger van Wyk, Daniel Vettori, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson

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