International cricketer Mitchell McClenaghan is back in the Auckland Aces fold for the 2018-19 season, taking one of the four remaining domestic contracts.
McClenaghan, from the Howick Pakuranga Cricket Club joins experienced head Michael Barry, newly contracted Finn Allen and North Shore’s Graeme Beghin in the Auckland squad.
The left-arm quick will be with the Aces for the Burger King Super Smash and part of the Ford Trophy campaign as well as being a valuable resource for the young Auckland bowling unit.
“I’m excited to be back around the group. It was good to spend some time leading into the Super Smash last year with a few one-dayers. We have an exciting group of players here in Auckland,” said McClenaghan.
“I’ll be able to help the bowling unit, particularly in the T20’s. There’s a few things I’ve learnt, particularly in the last six months, that will help us be competitive with the ball.”
McClenaghan says his time away at various T20 tournaments has helped him grow; with his exposure to some of the best players in the game assisting in his development.
“I’ve been put under a lot of pressure in different tournaments. This year’s IPL showed me the hard learnings and the stuff I have been working on has paid off.”
With the ICC Cricket World Cup just around the corner in 2019, the left-armer says he still harbours the desire to play for New Zealand.
“Even though I would be a slim chance of making the World Cup squad, I want to come back to New Zealand and put some pressure on heading into that tournament.”
“I don’t want to die wondering ‘what if’…I feel my bowling is getting back to a speed I’m very happy with and I’m getting that extra kick and bounce again. Part of the thinking is I could still contribute to New Zealand really well in the one-day format.”
Another Ace who has been around the environment for several seasons is Michael Barry, with head coach Mark O’Donnell happy to have him back in the group.
“Baz has been a solid performer for several years now and can do a job with both bat and ball. He’s a very likeable character,” said O’Donnell.
While Barry and McClenaghan have been here before, newcomers Graeme Beghin and Finn Allen are stoked to have signed their first domestic contracts. “It’s all pretty exciting so I’m taking a moment to enjoy it,” said Beghin.
“It’s something that I’ve been working towards for a long time and it’s great to share the news with friends and family who have always supported me and my cricket.”
New Zealand Under-19 star Allen said it was a “dream come true” when he was told he had made the cut.
However, the young batsman is well aware it’s one thing to sign a contract and another to perform against the best in the country.
“I really appreciate the opportunity and know the hard work has only just begun,” said Allen.
“I’m just looking forward to summer ahead and making the most of any opportunity to train, play and learn from the guys around me.”
Full Auckland Aces contract list
- Finn Allen
- Michael Barry
- Graeme Beghin
- Jamie Brown (HPCC)
- Craig Cachopa
- Mark Chapman
- Danru Ferns (HPCC)
- Michael Guptill-Bunce
- Ben Horne
- Ben Lister
- Mitchell McClenaghan (HPCC)
- Matt McEwan (HPCC)
- Robbie O’Donnell
- Glenn Phillips (HPCC)
- Sean Solia
- Will Somerville