Duffy ‘ready to take next step’ at international level

Otago bowler Jacob Duffy can expect to play more at international level now he has a New Zealand...
Otago bowler Jacob Duffy can expect to play more at international level now he has a New Zealand Cricket contract. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Otago fast bowler Jacob Duffy is living proof that patience is a virtue.

The popular son of Southland has received his first New Zealand contract 12 years after making his debut for the Otago Volts as a 17-year-old with a smile that has never really gone away.

Duffy was yesterday included in the New Zealand Cricket contracts list for the 2024-25 season.

The 29-year-old right-armer has had a good taste of international cricket, playing six ODIs (11 wickets at 29.18) and 14 T20s (11 wickets with a 7.77 economy rate), and was recently involved in the drawn T20 series in Pakistan.

His elevation to a full contract means he can hope for more international action this summer.

Duffy is in Sri Lanka, where he plays for the Galle Marvels, and told the Otago Daily Times in a message he was delighted to get the news.

"I’ve been in the system for quite a while now so to get that recognition with a Black Caps contract is a pretty incredible feeling.

"I’ve grafted a lot in my career, and loved it, but I feel like I’m coming into my prime now with some good experience under my belt.

"I’m ready to take the next step in my career and start having some meaningful impact at the international level."

Breakout star Rachin Ravindra understandably earns a first national contract, and will be joined by fellow newcomers Ben Sears and Will O’Rourke.

Test spinner Ajaz Patel also returns after missing the previous cycle.

Of the players contracted in the previous year, Black Caps captain Kane Williamson and fast bowlers Lockie Ferguson and Adam Milne made themselves unavailable for a contract for the coming season.

NZC reiterated its stance that players offered central contracts must commit to being available for both the Black Caps and the Super Smash competition.

Williamson has been offered a "casual" playing contract after reaffirming his commitment to the Black Caps for the home summer.

Former Otago bowler Neil Wagner will not appear on the central contract list for the first time since 2013 after retiring from international cricket in February, while Central Stags bowler Blair Tickner has not been offered a contract.

Ravindra, 24, shone at the Cricket World Cup in India last year, finishing as the competition’s fourth-highest batter with 578 runs, before returning home to star in the test and T20 summer.

He was named the ICC emerging player of the year, and became the youngest recipient of the Sir Richard Hadlee Medal at the New Zealand Cricket Awards.

Sears, who played alongside Ravindra at the 2016 Under-19 World Cup, featured in 11 T20s for the Black Caps last summer, claiming 13 wickets at an average of 22.

The 26-year-old pace bowler made his test debut against Australia at Hagley Oval in March, claiming four for 90 in the second innings.

O’Rourke’s contract offer caps off a 12-month period for the Canterbury seamer in which he made his international debut in all three formats.

The 22-year-old featured in three ODIs, three T20s and two tests, the first of which led to New Zealand’s best figures on test debut with nine for 93, helping the Black Caps claim their first series victory against South Africa.

Patel, contracted previously in the 2020-21 and 2022-23 seasons, receives his offer ahead of a busy red-ball schedule, including overseas tests against Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and India, and a three-match home series against England.

"It’s especially exciting for Ben, Jacob, Rachin and Will to receive their first contract offers, and well-deserved following their hard work and performances," Dunedin-based selector Sam Wells said.

"These younger guys are the future of the team and it’s been encouraging to see their progress on the international stage."

Black Caps

Central contracts

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).