New Zealand Cricket central contracts: Jimmy Neesham, Tom Blundell and Will Young added for 2019-20 season
Jimm Neesham, Will Young and Tom Blundell are the new names on the list of 20 players.

The allrounder Jimmy Neesham, World Cup-bound wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Blundell and opening batsman Will Young are the new names on the list of 20 players offered New Zealand Cricket (NZC) contracts for 2019-20.

Neesham has been centrally contracted for the first time since 2017-18, a year in which he lost his place in all three New Zealand squads and contemplated retiring. Neesham forced his way back into the reckoning with a successful 2018-19 Ford Trophy followed by two games for New Zealand A versus India A in December. In five innings since he returned to New Zealand’s ODI squad in January, he has 204 runs at a strike-rate of 182.14 – which includes six sixes in an over on comeback – and claimed 10 wickets at 22.90 with an economy rate of 5.38.

Young, 26 receives a central contract offer for the first time after impressing with the Central Stags and New Zealand A, as does Blundell – who played two Tests and two T20s for New Zealand in 2017-18 and is part of the Black Caps’ squad for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. (READ: Who is uncapped Tom Blundell?)

Of the players centrally contracted during last 12 month cycle, Adam Milne, George Worker and Corey Anderson have not received offers for the 2019-20 season.

“Jimmy had a very good season and made excellent progress with Wellington, New Zealand A and the BLACKCAPS. He’s made every post a winning one,” said selection manager Gavin Larsen in a statement Thursday. “Will receives an offer on the basis of the sheer weight of runs he scored last season, both for New Zealand A and the Central Stags. He would’ve received his first Test cap in March had it not been for the match being cancelled because of the Christchurch attack.”

“Tom has acted as a back-up for BJ Watling on the tour of UAE, has recently played for New Zealand A and is in the World Cup squad as the wicket-keeping understudy for Tom Latham. We see this offer as a strong vote of confidence in his future.”

Players offered NZC central contracts for 2019-20: Todd Astle, Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, James Neesham, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson, Will Young.