OPINION: The day started with Daniel Vettori doing the honourable thing and ended with some cricket insiders shaking their heads.
It is all to do with the 20 strong New Zealand Cricket contract list, which will be officially released on Monday.
It is the work of coach Mike Hesson and this year, like every other, there are contentious calls. As captain, Brendon McCullum is top dog on $181,425 and Bruce Martin is understood to have nabbed No 20, worth $73,000.
The players have been told their fate and if the whispers are correct Tom Latham, Corey Anderson, Colin Munro, Grant Elliott and Martin got the contentious 16-20 slots.
On the outer appear to be Andrew Ellis, the Wellington trio of Luke Ronchi, Mark Gillespie and James Franklin and the perennially unlucky Ian Butler.
The fact that Elliott was the only Firebird to make the cut has massive implications for Cricket Wellington. It now has to squeeze Franklin and Ronchi into its contract list pushing the likes of Gillespie, Michael Papps and Jesse Ryder further down the pecking order and some young ones off the bottom.
It also makes solid first class players like Luke Woodcock and Stephen Murdoch susceptible to higher offers from rival provinces. Elliott should walk to the Kelburn Lotto shop this morning.
He is fortuitous. He is 34, got injured at the Champions Trophy and in the past 12 months played two T20s for 19 runs at 9.50 and seven ODIs for 199 runs at 28.42.
Here is the anomaly. Had Elliott been overlooked for a national contract he would've sat behind James Franklin, Luke Ronchi, Mark Gillespie at the Firebirds.
What's the answer? Fifteen contracts.
That way you find room for test regulars Doug Bracewell, Neil Wagner, Doug Brownlie and Peter Fulton but not the subjective selections that landed contracts for the 16-20 lads.
If you look back to last year punts were taken on Daniel Flynn, Kruger van Wyk, Rob Nicol and Tarun Nethula and those selections proved astray. So, 20 names will be read out Monday, from McCullum down they will be on a sliding scale of $6000 increments.
Numbers 18-20 all get $73,000. On top of that are match fees, $7508 per test, $3250 for each ODI and $2120 per T20 appearance.
Vettori was not asked to stand aside, he did so. He's given sterling service but has had a good run in terms of earning while he is injured and there is no guarantee he will return after Achilles surgery.
Ryder's manager Aaron Klee reported positively on his charge but said they never asked to be considered.
Asked if they had their fingers crossed for a retainer, Klee said ''no, not at all''.
''We never looked at that, we'll just concentrate on getting a domestic contract.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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