Canterbury's Matt Henry surprise pick in IPL

MATT MARKHAM
Last updated 05:00 14/02/2014

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TOP 20: Canterbury pace bowler Matt Henry has been awarded a New Zealand Cricket central contract.

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Canterbury quick bowler Matt Henry has never met Stephen Fleming, but will finally get the chance after being secured by the former New Zealand cricket captain to play for his Chennai Super King's side in this year's Indian Premier League.

Henry's acquisition for a base fee of $58,000 during Wednesday night's auction, came as a shock to most watching and caused a stir overseas with one cricketing website opening up yesterday morning with the headline Who is Matt Henry?.

Fleming had gone to lengths to secure the services of his business partner and current Black Caps captain, Brendon McCullum for $627,000, but threw a curve ball into the mix when picking up Henry late in the auction.

"I've never actually met Stephen, so I'm looking forward to that," Henry said yesterday.

"I thought I might be an outside chance to get picked up, but when I was sitting there watching some great players not get picked I was a little worried.

"I didn't get a lot of sleep after the auction, I was pretty much glued to the screen throughout it waiting, so it was exciting when it finally got to me."

Fresh off the back of his breath-taking figures of 4-38 against India in the final one day international on debut for the Black Caps at Wellington, this week's revelations further enhanced the fast-rising stocks of the 22-year-old who is now pressing for a New Zealand Cricket contract.

"It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks that's for sure, playing my debut for New Zealand at home against India was a really special moment and that's only just started to sink in ... now there is this as well."

Although his price tag is down on the other four New Zealand players contracted on the opening night of the auction, for Henry it was never about the money.

Gaining as much experience as he can in one of the toughest sporting domains in the world was always the main lure.

"Just the chance to go over there and spend some time with some of the best players in the world, and to be able to pick their brains and learn as much as I can off them, is enough for me."

While Henry's selection came as a shock, there was no surprises surrounding Corey Anderson who was snapped up by John Wright's defending champion Mumbai Indians for $866,000.

Black Caps opening bowler, Tim Southee was grabbed by the Rajasthan Royals for $230,000 while Jimmy Neesham, who will make his test debut today, was snared by the Delhi Daredevils for $195,000.

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From a New Zealand perspective the major shock was the failure of Ross Taylor to attract a bid, although he could be picked up in last night's second round of bidding.

Other New Zealanders to miss out included Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Luke Ronchi, Martin Guptill, Hamish Rutherford, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Jacob Oram and James Franklin.

- The Press

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