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Astle added to New Zealand list of contracted players

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) Leg spin allrounder Todd Astle has been included on New Zealand Cricket's list of contracted players for the first time, at the age of 31.

Astle is the only newcomer on the list, which was announced Wednesday and has been reduced for the next year from 21 to 20 players. Batsman Neil Broom and allrounder James Neesham have been cut from the previous list.

The contracted players are chosen on the basis of ratings by coach Mike Hesson and selector Gavin Larsen across all three formats, with tests carrying twice the weighting of limited-overs matches.

Astle made a strong claim for inclusion with his contribution to New Zealand's win over England in a day-night test in March.

"Todd's progress over the past 12 months has been exciting to see'" Larsen said. "When fit, he made the most of his opportunities in both test and ODI cricket.

"We have a big summer ahead; we know Todd performs well in New Zealand conditions and we also have a spin-friendly tour against Pakistan coming up. Between Todd, Ish (Sodhi) and Mitchell (Santner) our spin bowling stocks have probably never looked better."

Larsen said Neesham and Broom didn't show the consistency required to retain their national contracts and would benefit from playing more domestic cricket.

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NZC contracted players: Corey Anderson, Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, B.J. Watling, Kane Williamson, George Worker.

Updated May 15, 2018