WELLINGTON – Rookie all-rounder Mitchell Santner and veteran Grant Elliott have been rewarded for their recent strong performances by being included in New Zealand's list of centrally contracted players on Wednesday.
Santner made his debut on New Zealand's just completed tour of England and impressed with his left arm-spin and lower-order batting in the limited-over series.
The 23-year-old, viewed as a potential successor to the retired Daniel Vettori, has been singled out for his bowling but coach Mike Hesson said he expected his talents with the bat to become more prevalent over the next 12 months.
"Mitch is a player of genuine all-round ability," Hesson said in a New Zealand Cricket
statement. "His appearance on this list is recognition of where we see his skills in all three forms of the game.
"My feeling is that well see a lot more of him with the bat, in particular, as he gains more experience."
The 36-year-old Elliott also earned a central contract after an impressive World Cup.
He struck South Africa strike bowler Dale Steyn for a six to give the co-hosts an epic four-wicket victory with a ball to spare in their semi-final at Eden Park in March
"Grant hasn't had a contract for a while but returns on the back of excellent recent form, including the World Cup," Hesson added. "He's a valuable member of our short-form sides."
Fast-medium bowler Doug Bracewell has also been added to the list after impressing Hesson on the tour of England.
Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, who has been supplanted as the top test spinner by Mark Craig, and limited-overs specialist Colin Munro dropped off the list.
A third spot on the list opened up with the retirement of swing bowler Kyle Mills after the World Cup.
The 20 players on the list are ranked according to their expected impact over all three formats in the next year, with test matches being given twice the weighting of limited overs matches.
The player at the top of the list receives the highest retainer.
Local media reported on Wednesday the player ranked at the top would receive about N$200,000 a year plus match payments. The players ranked 18-20 receive about NZ$81,000.
Central contracts list: Corey Anderson, Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Grant Elliott, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson. –Reuters