New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham on Friday declined a New Zealand central contract. The announcement was made on Instagram where he explained that he had already given his commitments to other leagues in the world. The post was shared just four days before the squad announcement for the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia which begins from October onwards.
Neesham was handed two of the vacant spots in the list, replacing Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme, but the all-rounder had to deny the offer, which he was expecting in July, owing to his set plan of appearing in other leagues. Boult denied the contract earlier this year owing to spending more time with his family and playing other leagues in the world while de Grandhomme retired from international cricket. Although he admitted that he hopes to return to the side in the near future, especially for multi-nation events.
"I know the news of my decision to decline a central contract today will be seen as me choosing money over representing my country," Neesham posted on an Instagram story. "I had planned to accept a contract offer in July, however since being left off the list I have committed to other leagues around the world. It was a difficult decision but I have decided to honour those commitments rather than go back on my word to re-sign with NZ Cricket.
"Playing for the [Blackcaps] has been the greatest honour of my career and I remain committed to taking the field with my countrymen for the foreseeable future, especially in pinnacle world events."
Neesham presently will appear in the auction for the South Africa T20 league.
New Zealand will name their T20 World Cup squad on September 20. They will gear up for the event with a tri-series in Christchurch featuring Pakistan and Bangladesh, between October 7 and 14. New Zealand will play their T20 World Cup opener against Australia at the SCG on October 22.
Meanwhile, Blair Tickner and Finn Allen have bagged their maiden deals with New Zealand Cricket.