McClenaghan opts for T20 over New Zealand contract

McClenaghan © Getty

Mitchell McClenaghan, the 31-year-old pacer, has decided to discontinue his contract with New Zealand Cricket, in order to ply his trade in overseas T20 leagues.

The experienced fast bowler, who has 30 scalps to his name in T20Is, requested the board to terminate his contract, as he wanted to pursue opportunities with South Africa’s T20 Global League and Big Bash League in Australia. McClenaghan’s contract with New Zealand had a retainer of 100000.

Incidentally, the left-arm pacer was picked up by Durban Qalandars during the T20 Global League draft process held on Sunday (August 27). The tournament that starts on November 3 this year, clashes with New Zealand’s Plunket Shield, the country’s premier first-class competition, and the T20 Super Smash.

McClenaghan is currently playing for the Caribbean Premier League franchise, St. Lucia Stars. The 31-year-old has also played for Mumbai Indians, Middlesex, Auckland Aces and Lancashire.

“Some new playing opportunities have arisen in the past few weeks which mean my circumstances have changed,” McClenaghan said in a NZC release.

“I’m very grateful for the respect, understanding and goodwill which has underpinned my request to be released from my NZC contract.

“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,” he noted.

As McClenaghan was one of the contracted cricketers, he was required to partake in New Zealand’s domestic tournaments, when he wasn’t on national duty. However, with him looking to pursue T20 opportunities outside the country, he needed to get either a no objection certificate (NOC) or terminate his contract.

It has to be noted that the veteran pacer and a few other national cricketers have already been granted ‘annual leave’ to participate in the IPL every year.

McClenaghan can still represent the national side and earn match fees. However, he won’t be a part of New Zealand’s High Performance Programme.

“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,” Bryan Stronach, NZC general manager high performance, 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,” he added.

The injury prone fast bowler, is known for his slew of variations, and has been one of the most sought after bowlers in T20 auctions around the cricketing landscape. McClenaghan’s incisiveness can be capsulised by the fact that he has picked up 54 scalps at 24.61 for Mumbai Indians in the IPL.

As a result of McClenaghan opting to walk away from his contract, Lockie Ferguson, his Auckland team-mate, will be granted a place in the 21-member New Zealand contract list.