Mitchell McClenaghan has stated that handing in his NZC contract for T20 was the hardest decision of his career.
He revealed how he underwent post-concussion headaches and endless sleepless nights at the 2016 World Twenty20, thanks to the fact that he feels his chances of playing for the New Zealand team again are slim to none, and that doing so has always been his life’s dream.
An Amicable Parting of Ways
The bellicose left-armer has cordially parted ways with New Zealand Cricket, and in doing so relinquished the Black Caps contract he got offered in June. He decided not to take advantage of the NZ$100 000 annual retainer, and play in the Australian/South African Twenty20 competition over the course of this summer instead.
NZC approved McClenaghan’s departure, and will be offering its 21st contract to Lockie Ferguson, McClenaghan’s Auckland teammate instead, and has insisted that there will not be a plethora of players following McClenaghan’s suit.
It Has Started Sinking In for McClenaghan
McClenaghan, whose international career has included 48 ODIs and 28 T20s, admits to a bittersweet nostalgia as he surveys his path thus far.
He has come a long way since his South African debut in December of 2012, and acknowledges he worked as hard as he could to be worthy of the game.
While he could still be selected for the New Zealand team again, even without a national contract to recommend him, it doesn’t seem likely that this will occur, unless some sort of injury crisis occurs.
He stated that he was prepared to do anything for his country, while acknowledging the irony of stating this as he was declining a contract to play for it, but stands firm in his decision.
He mentioned that he had played games that he shouldn’t have after head injuries, and done his level best, as punters who know him from their live sports betting adrenaline-pumping decisions can attest, but that overall the decision he has made is the best one for him.
An Illustrious Career So Far
Speaking of the head injuries he should not have been playing after, McClenaghan was no doubt referring to the shocking knock he received from a bouncer at the Basin Reserve in January last year.
The knock necessitated metal plates being inserted into his forehead, and it is likely that his return to play following this incident was too quick.
Although his fitness levels were up to scratch and he appeared to be healthy, eating right and training hard, he should have taken extra recovery time before hitting the field again. He tried to win a world title just weeks later in India, and that defeat, in a semi-final match against England in Delhi, unfortunately stands as his most recent international game.
The Security Trumped the Retainer
McClenaghan spoke of how many offers he received to play in other T20 competitions, and he once again asserted that it was a tremendously difficult decision for him to make, thanks to how much he loves playing for New Zealand.
He ruefully admitted that he couldn’t entertain the kind of opportunities he was and remain fair to New Zealand Cricket under contract.