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Rachin Ravindra, seam-bowling troika earn maiden NZC contracts, Ajaz Patel returns

Rachin Ravindra, seam-bowling troika earn maiden NZC contracts, Ajaz Patel returns

Rachin-Ravindra. (Photo by Matt Roberts-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

After his phenomenal last season with the Kiwis, Rachin Ravindra has received his maiden International Playing Contract offer from New Zealand Cricket (NZC) for the 2024-25 year. He is one of the four new faces to have made the contract list. Alongside Ravindra, fellow Wellington pacer Ben Sears, Canterbury’s Will O’Rourke and Otago’s Jacob Duffy have received contracts after showing their potential over the last 12 months.

Ravindra had a memorable ODI World Cup 2023 campaign, as he finished as the fourth-highest run-getter in the campaign, amassing 578 runs. He went on to feature in the other two formats of the game at home in the New Zealand summer and his performances didn’t go unnoticed, as he was named the ICC Emerging Player of the Year for 2023 in January. A couple of months later, he created history as he became the youngest recipient of the Sir Richard Hadlee Medal at the ANZ New Zealand Cricket Awards.

Also Read: ‘My priority still is absolutely playing for New Zealand’ – Kane Williamson shares after opting for non-binding contract

After receiving his first central contract from NZC, an elated Ravindra said that he had learned a lot over the past 12 months and has the hunger to keep improving his craft.

“Growing up, you’d see those contract lists come out each year and think it would be cool to be on that list one day – and for it to eventuate now is a pinch-myself moment. It’s been a really cool past 12 months playing international cricket. I’ve learned a lot and the hunger is definitely there to keep improving and giving to the BLACKCAPS,” the all-rounder told NZC.

“It’s such a special group to be in, from players to support staff — and that’s been the most enjoyable part, to be honest. Playing a game you love with your mates for a living is something very special, and I hold it close to my heart,” he added.

Sears, meanwhile, played 11 T20Is for the Blackcaps during the 2023-24 season, claiming 13 wickets at an average of 22. He made his Test debut against Australia at the Hagley Oval and claimed a four-for in the second innings. Sears was among the travelling reserves for New Zealand in the T20 World Cup 2024.

On the other hand, O’Rourke debuted in all three formats for New Zealand last season, playing two Tests, three ODIs and as many T20Is. The 22-year-old claimed the best Test figures for New Zealand on debut, as his 9/93 helped his side register their first Test series win against South Africa.

Also Read: Lauren Down makes her return to New Zealand’s central contracts list

Meanwhile, Duffy has featured for in 14 T20Is and six ODIs and was most recently involved in the drawn T20I series against Pakistan in April.

Experienced left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel missed out on an NZC contract last season but has made a comeback this year ahead of New Zealand’s busy red-ball schedule.

Players offered BLACKCAPS central contracts for 2024-25

Finn Allen (Auckland), Tom Blundell (Wellington), Michael Bracewell (Wellington), Mark Chapman (Auckland), Devon Conway (Wellington), Jacob Duffy (Otago), Matt Henry (Canterbury), Kyle Jamieson (Canterbury), Tom Latham (Canterbury), Daryl Mitchell (Canterbury), Henry Nicholls (Canterbury), Will O’Rourke (Canterbury), Ajaz Patel (Central Districts), Glenn Phillips (Otago), Rachin Ravindra (Wellington), Mitchell Santner (Northern Districts), Ben Sears (Wellington), Ish Sodhi (Canterbury), Tim Southee (Northern Districts), Will Young (Central Districts)

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