Ferguson snags NZC contract, McClenaghan released

BLACKCAPS paceman Mitchell McClenaghan has been released from his New Zealand Cricket (NZC) central contract to pursue T20 cricket, while fellow Auckland Aces paceman Lockie Ferguson is now elevated to a NZC contract.

The move leaves a gap in the Auckland Cricket contract list which Professional Cricket Manager Simon Insley says will be filled once the selectors have met in the coming days.

McClenaghan’s release comes after years of service for the Auckland Aces, a player who was a popular figure around the team environment.

“Mitch has been in constant communication with us here at Auckland Cricket and we wish him all the best in the various T20 cricket leagues around the globe. He will still be around the Auckland setup in 2017/18 and we will sit down with him to see how much time he can spend in an Auckland shirt this season.” says Insley.

Ferguson is a big winner in all of this, having narrowly missed a BLACKCAPS contract initially, the Auckland paceman says he is excited to once again be in the frame for international selection.

“After getting a taste of international cricket last summer, I’m stoked to be offered a BLACKCAPS contract for the coming season. I just need to put in solid domestic performances and hopefully I’ll get more cracks at the highest level,” Ferguson says.

McClenaghan’s decision comes after his circumstances changed in the months following his NZC contract offer in late June.

“Some new playing opportunities have arisen in the past few weeks which mean my circumstances have changed. I’m very grateful for the respect, understanding and goodwill which has underpinned my request to be released from my NZC contract,” McClenaghan says.

“I’ve worked closely with NZC throughout the process, while also making it clear I still harbour ambitions of playing for New Zealand in the future.”

NZC GM High Performance Bryan Stronach said he respected McClenaghan’s decision to pursue a pathway in which he has experienced considerable success.

“We have to recognise that, as the T20 game matures, specialists will want to explore the different opportunities that become available – and I think Mitch’s case is symptomatic of that,” he said.

“This agreement has been reached amicably and mutually; all parties understand the change in Mitch’s circumstances, and he is released from his contract with our best wishes.”

Like all other non-contracted New Zealand players, McClenaghan will remain eligible for BLACKCAPS selection, even if unavailable.

Since his debut in 2012, McClenaghan has played 28 T20s and 48 One Day Internationals for the BLACKCAPS.

He has also represented the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League; St Lucia Stars in the Caribbean Premier League, and England county T20 side, Middlesex.