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McClenaghan chooses T20 over Black Caps

29 August 2017

McClenaghan in action for the St Lucia Stars in the CPL // Getty

Dave Middleton & AAP

Dave Middleton & AAP

Big Bash League clubs on alert after New Zealand bowler exits his central contract to pursue T20 league deals around the world

New Zealand fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan has walked away from a central contract with the Black Caps to ply his trade as a global T20 specialist, and is now expected to feature in this summer's KFC BBL.

The 31-year-old fast bowler, currently playing with the St Lucia Stars in the Caribbean Premier League, has had his New Zealand Cricket central contract terminated after he requested to be released in order to join the T20 circuit.

"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."

McClenaghan has 54 wickets at 24.61 in three seasons of IPL // BCCI

McClenaghan has signed on to join the Durban Qalanders in South Africa's inaugural T20 Global League that runs from six weeks from November 4, while the Big Bash League season starts on December 19.

His preference for T20 matches put him at odds with New Zealand's domestic competitions, and the bowler made his choice to take the big money on offer in T20 cricket.

His stated ambition to play for New Zealand again appears unlikely, however, and his appearance in the Black Caps' three scheduled T20s against the West Indies over the New Year period would require dispensation in any Big Bash contract negotiation.

The ICC earlier this year scrapped plans for a 2018 World T20, with the next global tournament to be held in Australia in 2020, when the fast bowler will be pushing 34.

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."

McClenaghan survives eye-catching celebration

The left-armer hasn't played a Test for New Zealand but has been a solid performer in 48 ODIs and 28 T20Is since his debut in 2013. He last played an ODI in January 2016 when he suffered a frightening blow to the head while batting against Pakistan in Wellington.

McClenaghan has been a prolific wicket-taker for the Mumbai Indians in two stints in the Indian Premier League.

Meanwhile, just one other New Zealander was included among the eight 18-man squads for the South African Global League, which was finalised at a player draft ceremony.

Retired skipper Brendon McCullum will play for the Joburg Giants, selected as their marquee player.

McCullum is a proven performer in T20 leagues. He is the leading run-scorer in the CPL with 309, boosted by his match-winning knock of 91 off 62 balls for the Trinbago Knight Riders against the Jamaica Tallawahs on Saturday.