Jimmy Neesham and Neil Broom have been dropped from the list of centrally contracted players and Todd Astle included for the first time, New Zealand Cricket announced on Tuesday, May 15.
This is the first time that Astle, the 31-year-old leg-spinner, has been included in the list, which has been brought down from 21 to 20.
Astle has played three Test matches for four wickets to date. Three of them came in his last Test appearance, against England in Auckland in March, when he returned 3-39 in the second innings as New Zealand won by an innings and 49 runs.
He has also turned out in six one-day internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals.
“Todd’s progress over the past 12 months has been exciting to see. When fit, he made the most of his opportunities in both Test and ODI cricket,” said Gavin Larsen, the New Zealand Selector. “We have a big summer ahead; we know Todd performs well in New Zealand conditions, and we also have a spin-friendly tour against Pakistan coming up.
“Between Todd, Ish (Sodhi) and Mitchell (Santner) our spin bowling stocks have probably never looked better.”
Neesham, the pace-bowling all-rounder, hasn’t turned out for New Zealand since June 2017, when he played a Champions Trophy match against Bangladesh in Cardiff. Broom has also been out of the scheme of things since playing an ODI against the Windies in December last year.
“Jimmy and Neil didn’t show the consistency required over the past year and we’d like to see them go back and demand our attention again through domestic performance,” said Larsen. “We’ll continue to monitor the progress of a number of fringe players, who will have the chance to continue to push their case through the NZA programme and home domestic season.”
Contracted players: Corey Anderson, Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson, George Worker.