14 Apr 2020

Lucrative IPL contracts set to elude Black Caps

1:26 pm on 14 April 2020

Black Caps allrounder Jimmy Neesham is refusing to get too downhearted at the seeming demise of his debut in the lucrative Indian Premier League.

Black Caps allrounder Jimmy Neesham.


Neesham, 29, was the only New Zealand player to pick up a contract at the IPL auction in December, signing on with the Kings XI Punjab on a $107,000 contract.

Fellow Kane Williamson (Sunrisers Hyderabad), Lockie Ferguson (Kolkata Knight Riders), Mitchell Santner (Chennai Super Kings) and Mitchell McClenaghan (Mumbai Indians) were all retained by their sides, while Trent Boult was traded from the Delhi Capitals to Mumbai.

The tournament was due to start on 29 March, before being pushed back to 15 April.

It now appeared to be delayed indefinitely due to Covid-19.

"We still don't really know what's going on with the IPL," Neesham said.

"Officially it's still only postponed rather than being cancelled... so it's all just 'wait and see'.

"While it is disappointing, there's obviously many more important things going on in the world at present than a few guys missing a cricket tournament... so it's a small sacrifice.

With a 'no play, no play' scenario, all the players would be out of pocket.

For Black Caps skipper Williamson that was around $650,000 and for Neesham close to $110,000.

Black Caps bowler James Neesham - New Zealand Black Caps v India. 2nd One Day International cricket match. Eden Park, New Zealand.  08 February  2020       Photo: Brett Phibbs / www.photosport.nz

Photo: PhotoSport

"It's not ideal but we just have to get on and do what we can," Neesham said.

The upside was a break from the game for Neesham, who's been playing non-stop since November, 2018.

"Physically the body has been going really well over the past couple of years and that is off the back of more consistent work - not having as much time off and bowling all the way through winter," he said.

"But certainly mentally I was starting to fatigue quite a lot towards the end of the summer so its been good to get away from the game and freshen up ... but the desire is certainly there to keep going.

"It's just about managing things more mentally than physically so that I get to the point where I am fizzing to get back into the game again and wanting to pick up the bat in the garage with some gusto rather than feeling obligated to."

In lockdown in Auckland, Neesham had been doing two gym workouts at home each day and trying to keep his nine-month old dog Charlie entertained.

Williamson's dog became a social media star, with the New Zealand skipper sharing a video online showing Sandy taking a slip catch in the backyard.

But Neesham said Charlie was some way off being able to do that.

"Kane's dog Sandy is about 14-years-old, so it's a lot easier to get her to sit still and wait for a ball to come.

"It's much more of a challenge to get Charlie to do stuff, [plus] Kane's backyard is also a bit bigger than mine."

Social interaction was what Neesham was missing most during lockdown.

"I love the people in my flat but you can only get so much interaction with four people and a dog.

"It would be nice to get out and about and go to a few different eateries... but we are all dealing with something a little bit bigger so it's all about getting through and then looking forward to those sorts of things in a couple of weeks."