Cricket: Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips earn first Blackcaps contracts

Allrounder Daryl Mitchell and batsman Glenn Phillips have been rewarded for breakout international seasons with their first Blackcaps contracts.

The pair are the only new names among the 20-strong national list.

Canterbury's Mitchell reeled off his maiden test and one-day international centuries and played his part across all three formats this international summer.

Auckland Aces masterblaster Phillips made the Twenty20 arena his own, smashing 366 runs at a 40.6 average, including an exhilarating 46-ball century against the West Indies at Bay Oval in November - the fastest by a New Zealander in T20 history.

Phillips admits his road to a full time contract has been long, with its share of "ups and downs", but has made the necessary changes and the result speaks for itself.

"I've been working hard on a few things, had to change my technique a couple of times along the way," says Phillips.

"Then getting the opportunity, everything clicked together in one whole season. To be able to have this as a result is unbelievable.

"I think this is probably the first year where I've put enough runs on the board in important games to be able to push my case.

"But even then, it was a massive surprise. I didn't think I was even close."

The Blackcaps' success across all formats in recent years had made clinching one of the highly sought-after contract that much more difficult, and Phillips reveals, at times, he questioned whether it was even possible among such a competitive group.

"When you go through darker patches in career you wonder if you're ever going to get there, especially when  you see such a strong lineup," says Phillips.

"The boys that have been contracted for the last couple of years have been mainstays and you often wonder 'am I even good enough to get in there?'

"But working my arse off over the past couple years I knew I could get there, it was just a matter of when rather than anything else."

Selector Gavin Larsen says both Phillips and Mitchell could not be overlooked, after their eye-catching campaigns over the home season.

"There's no question Daryl and Glenn took their games to another level over the summer and have added to the growing depth of talent we now enjoy," says Larsen.

"The Blackcaps achieved unprecedented success, going through the season unbeaten for the first time ever and it was encouraging to see guys like Kyle Jamieson and Devon Conway performing so well after receiving their first contracts last year."

Test specialist Ajaz Patel has missed out on a contract after coming onto the list for the first time last year, while BJ Watling has also been omitted after confirming his impending retirement from all cricket.

"After such a successful summer in which we used a variety of players across the three formats, there was always going to be a squeeze on for positions and, unfortunately, Ajaz has been a victim of that success," notes Larsen.

"He missed the start of the test season with his calf injury and was unable to make it back into the side during a summer in which seam and swing dominated. 

"However, we are well aware of Ajaz’s value as a frontline spinner, particularly in overseas conditions and he’s therefore still very much in our thinking going forward."

Players offered national contracts for 2021-22: Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, James Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young.