Former Blackcap Mitch McCleneghan says Colin de Grandhomme's shock retirement from international cricket yesterday could become common theme in New Zealand Cricket (NZC).
de Grandhomme announced his retirement yesterday after signing with the Adelaide Strikers for the upcoming BBL, which has followed fellow senior Blackcap Trent Boult's release from his central contract from NZC last month.
McCleneghan said the pressure of year-to-year contracts with NZC has changed players' priorities and pushed players to seek opportunities elsewhere.
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"I think once you’re at a certain age, you’re not really valued at New Zealand Cricket,” McClenaghan said on SENZ Breakfast.
"I feel like there should be some reward for longevity in this game, particularly with the way the contracts are set up with NZC.
"You’re on a year-by-year contract so there’s actually no security at all.
"You’re not an employee like you are with New Zealand Rugby, where you’re on a longer-term contract where you don’t need to look over your shoulder and you’re on good money."
The retirements of Boult and de Grandhomme resemble a slow shift toward a dominant freelance cricketer model, with the stress on international cricket particularly present on less powerful cricketing nations like New Zealand.
McClenaghan said de Grandhomme's predicament was understandable, whose priorities are met by leaving the international game altogether.
"You could lose your job tomorrow so all your security is out the window, so I can understand why Colin waited until he had a job to go to before kicking it in," he continued.
"I think in his mind he probably thought he’d have four or five Tests left at a max and then that (would) probably be taken towards the end of his career.
"That’s just the nature of being a contractor unfortunately for NZC and obviously for New Zealand cricketers as well.”
Similar pursuits to Boult and de Grandhomme's to maximise an earning capacity and job security could become more frequent, with the co-existence of international cricket (bilateral and ICC-organised events) and domestic T20 leagues becoming more and more strained.
One of the world's best white-ball players Jos Buttler will be paid close to $500k by the Paarl Royals in the new T20 league in South Africa in January, but if his side makes the league's play-offs, he will be asked to play in a near-meaningless ODI series for England against South Africa in early 2023. His prowess in domestic T20 leagues has been built off the back of a long term investment by the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.
And for the South African 'marquee' players in the T20 league earning $30k per game, they will still be contracted by Cricket South Africa (CSA) and be asked to play in the ODI series for a significantly lower wage.