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Rachin Ravindra (Photo: ICC)
Rachin Ravindra's class recognised in New Zealand central contract offering
Rachin Ravindra (Photo: ICC)

Wellington [New Zealand], July 10 (ANI): Rachin Ravindra's breakthrough year with New Zealand has been recognised by New Zealand Cricket in their central contract offers for 2024/2025.

Bowler Ben Sears, Will O'Rourke and Jacob Duffy have also been offered deals in the proposed 20-player contract list, with red-ball specialist spinner Ajaz Patel extended a contract after missing out in the last cycle.

ICC Emerging Player of the Year for 2023, Ravindra was a revelation for the Black Caps, making 578 runs at Cricket World Cup 2023, before a strong home summer capped off by a double century in World Test Championship action against South Africa.

"Growing up you'd see those contract lists come out each year and think it would be cool to be on that list one day - and for it to eventuate now is a pinch-myself moment. It's been a really cool past 12 months playing international cricket. I've learned a lot and the hunger is definitely there to keep improving and giving to the Black Caps," Ravindra said upon receiving his offer as quoted by ICC.

"It's such a special group to be in, from players to support staff - and that's been the most enjoyable part, to be honest. Playing a game you love with your mates for a living is something very special, and I hold it close to my heart," the opener added.

Sears enters the central contract group after featuring in 11 T20Is for the Black Caps in the last 12 months, claiming 13 wickets. He then made a Test debut against Australia in March, before travelling as a reserve in New Zealand's recent T20 World Cup campaign.

O'Rourke made his first international appearances in all three formats across the last year, standing out in his first Test with match figures of 9/93 - the best match figures by a New Zealand man on debut. Duffy earns his contract after taking part in 20 white ball matches for his country, while Patel earns his recall ahead of a busy Test period for New Zealand, in which the Black Caps take on Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and England.

New Zealand selector Sam Wells congratulated the 20-strong group.

"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. These younger guys are the future of the team and it's been encouraging to see their progress on the international stage. We're producing international-ready Black Caps and we're pleased with the current depth," said Wells.

Of the contracted players of the previous year, Kane Williamson, Lockie Ferguson and Adam Milne have made themselves unavailable for a contract for the coming season.

Williamson, who stepped down as New Zealand's white-ball skipper after their T20 World Cup campaign, has been offered a casual playing contract for the 2024-25 season after reaffirming his commitment to the team.

Blair Tickner also missed out on a central contract, with the retiring Neil Wagner also off the list.

Offered New Zealand contracts for 2024/2025: Finn Allen, Tom Blundell, Michael Bracewell, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Jacob Duffy, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Will O'Rourke, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Ben Sears, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Will Young. (ANI)

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