NZC contracts give ND space for standout
The inclusion of five Northern Knights in the New Zealand Cricket contract list this week has given the association added shopping power.
While some other associations were bemoaning their lack of players in the country's top 20, Northern Districts had five players - Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, BJ Watling and Corey Anderson - given NZC contracts for 2013/14.
Injured allrounder Daniel Vettori took himself out of the running for an NZC contract and a domestic one with ND, meaning chief executive Peter Roach and new coach James Pamment could attract a standout domestic player to sign for the upcoming season through the lure of a top domestic contract.
It's understood the Knights are close to securing the services of a batting all-rounder to bolster their squad for the 2013/14 season. Possible targets that fit that category include Central Districts' Carl Cachopa, his brother Craig (Auckland) and Otago's Jimmy Neesham.
The major associations can contract 14 players and have to submit a list of between nine and 13 players to NZC by July 26.
"We've obviously got a rough idea of what our list looks like," Pamment said.
"We can now action that and target one or two key players that we could bring to ND that would bring value to our squad."
"Losing Brent Arnel [to Wellington] and having Corey elevated gives us a little room towards the top of our list to potentially attract someone from another association. We'll do that really diligently - to come to ND, you've got to be a certain type of person to be in our mix.
"We won't do that unless we believe we can bring the skill-set and the type of character that's going to add some real value to us."
Pamment said the Knights are also likely to change tack slightly in their approach to seeking imports for the HRV Cup Twenty20 competition.
Last season the Knights had success with proven English performers Steven Croft and James Foster, despite missing out on the playoffs, but Pamment said import hunting wasn't a major priority at present.
"We're going to be heavily reliant on our own squad and then look to bring in perhaps individuals who could add some real specific qualities.
"We perhaps won't be scouring the marked like we have in the past for Twenty20 specialists, and more maybe relying on guys who are in the [Australian domestic T20] Big Bash squads to do short term jobs for us."
Pamment is hopeful some of the Knights' NZC-contracted players will be available for some of the Cup campaign, which is likely to coincide with the West Indies tour of New Zealand.