Inglis awarded contract as back-up keeper

Otago cricketer Polly Inglis in action during a Super Smash game at the University Oval last...
Otago cricketer Polly Inglis in action during a Super Smash game at the University Oval last summer. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Polly Inglis is the latest Otago cricketer to be offered a central contract.

The ebullient wicketkeeper-batter was yesterday named on the White Ferns contract list for the 2024-25 season.

She joins incumbent Sparks players Suzie Bates, Eden Carson and Hayley Jensen on the 17-strong list.

Inglis, 28, has been a regular in the Sparks since making her debut in 2012.

She played a key role in Otago’s march to Hallyburton Johnstone glory last summer, finishing as the second-highest scorer in the competition and making a calm unbeaten 35 in the final.

Inglis was later named the Sparks’ fielder and players’ player of the year, and she featured in the New Zealand A team that beat England in a one-day series.

White Ferns coach Ben Sawyer said Inglis’ performances had made her the first pick for a back-up wicketkeeper with the national team.

"Polly’s had a great domestic season with both bat and gloves and for that she’s been rewarded with a contract," Sawyer said.

"Izzy Gaze at the moment is our No1 keeper in both formats and she deserves that spot, but we need a backup keeper; we’ve spoken to Polly about that and she’s forced her way into this group."

Another feature of the White Ferns contract list is the return of Lauren Down.

The Auckland Hearts batter was last week named in the ODI squad for the upcoming tour to England, and receives the contract offer following a maternity break that led her to decline a central contract last season.

Of the centrally contracted players in the 2023-24 season, Northern Brave wicketkeeper-batter Bernadine Bezuidenhout has retired from international cricket, and Canterbury Magicians batter Kate Anderson did not receive an offer.

The remainder of the list is a familiar mix of players who have retained their contracts, including captain Sophie Devine alongside senior players Bates, Melie Kerr, Maddy Green and Lea Tahuhu.

Also featuring are allrounders Jess Kerr, Brooke Halliday and Hannah Rowe, young spin bowling duo Carson and Fran Jonas, seam bowlers Rosemary Mair, Molly Penfold and Jensen, batter Georgia Plimmer and wicketkeeper-batter Gaze.

"We’ve landed on a strong list of 17 names that we think are going to play an important part over the next 12 months," Sawyer said.

"It’s a familiar group made up of experienced and younger players that we believe are going to drive this team forward.

"I’m excited about the way this group are progressing together and what they can achieve over the next year."

Sawyer said planning for the next ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup was a key selection focus.

"A big part of the selection process this year was looking at who could take part in the 2025 ODI World Cup."

The 2024-25 contracting period begins on August 1, and players have until June 17 to accept their offers.

The White Ferns leave tomorrow for their tour to England.

White Ferns

Contract offers

Suzie Bates, Eden Carson, Sophie Devine, Lauren Down, Izzy Gaze, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Polly Inglis, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Jess Kerr, Melie Kerr, Rosemary Mair, Molly Penfold, Georgia Plimmer, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu