Contracts reflect desire to build on success

Simon Forde.
Simon Forde.
It is the tried and true who have been named in the first round of contracts for Otago.

The first 14 contracts were announced yesterday and no new names were included as the selectors stuck to those who served Otago well last year.

Otago made the playoffs of both the twenty20 and one-day competition and finished third in the Plunket Shield.

Wicketkeeper/batsman Max Chu and batsman Dale Phillips, who can also occasionally bowl, did not get contracts first time round last season but got a first-round offer this season.

In compiling the list of offers, an Otago Cricket contract review group, managed by Otago Cricket performance and talent manager Simon Forde, engaged coaching staff including head coach Rob Walter, Volts selectors and NZC high-performance staff.

The squad has a familiar look to last season, all players having been contracted to the Volts previously, which Forde said was deliberate.

"Our focus for this year’s contracting process was the retention of the players that performed so well for the Volts last season,’’ Forde said.

"We are determined to build on the success of last season and believe we have a core group of players that can continue to grow and be consistently competitive across the three domestic competitions."

Veteran spinner Mark Craig was not considered for contracting this year following his decision to take an indefinite break from the game.

Craig has had an operation on his back and it is uncertain whether he will return to playing.

The 14 players offered contracts have until this Sunday to accept or decline them.

Two contract positions remain open. These will be lodged on June 27 and the two players will have until July 7 to accept them.

Seamer Travis Muller is expected to be offered a contract.

Forde reinforced the need to strengthen the side’s seam bowling stocks.

"We were very light last year in terms of numbers of seam bowlers in the group, so the focus of our second round of contracting will be building depth in that department to complement our exciting attack led by Jacob Duffy."

In other player contracts around the country, promising Auckland batsman Finn Allen has moved to Wellington and it has been confirmed Daryl Mitchell will move to Canterbury.

Wellington all-rounder Malcolm Nofal has returned to South Africa.


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