Wednesday, July 17, 2024

NZC: Down returns to WHITE FERNS contract list | Inglis receives first offer

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Photo Credit: New Zealand Cricket

Auckland Hearts batter Lauren Down is set to return to the WHITE FERNS contract list for the 2024-25 season, alongside Otago Sparks wicketkeeper-batter Polly Inglis who has received a central contract offer for the first time.

Named last week in the ODI squad for the upcoming tour to England, Down receives the contract offer following a maternity break which guided her decision to decline a central contract last season.

Inglis’ offer comes after she featured in the New Zealand A side that beat England A two-one in the One Day home series in March.

An Otago Sparks mainstay since 2012, Inglis was pivotal for the side in this year’s Hallyburton Johnstone Shield campaign.

She finished as the competition’s second-highest run-scorer, with a calm 35* in the final against the Wellington Blaze to help the Southerners secure the One Day title.

Inglis scooped up the Otago Sparks’ Fielder of The Year and Players’ Player awards for the 2023-24 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 playing group Suzie Bates, Melie Kerr, Maddy Green and Lea Tahuhu.

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

WHITE FERNS head coach Ben Sawyer said he feels positive about the contract offers.

“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,” said Sawyer.

“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.”

Sawyer said Inglis’ performances have made her the first pick for a backup wicketkeeper.

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

“Izzy Gaze at the moment is our number one 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.”

The 2024-25 contracting period begins August 1, the players have until June 17 to accept their offer.

The WHITE FERNS depart for their tour to England on Thursday.

WHITE FERNS central contract offers 2024-25:  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


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