Image courtesy of: Zimbio
New Zealand all-rounder James Neesham has expressed his eagerness to represent his country in all three formats of the game.
Neesham last played for New Zealand during the Champions Trophy last June, but he is determined to regain his spot in the national team.
The 28-year-old also made it clear that he is aiming to cement his spot in all three squads and become the Black Caps’ go-to all-rounder.
“I’ve put my stake in the ground and said I want to play all three forms for New Zealand, not for the next 12 months but for the next 4-5 years,” Neesham told stuff.co.nz as quoted by ESPNcricinfo. “What the New Zealand team is crying out for is an allrounder they can rely on day in, day out, and not someone who’s just going to turn up now and then. That’s where I want to put my stake in the ground and say through domestic performances, ‘here I am, I’m ready to go’.”
Neesham was left out of the list of New Zealand’s centrally contracted players for the 2018/19 season as selector Gavin Larsen said he needs to “demand our attention again through domestic performance.”
Having not played international cricket for more than a year, Neesham is hungry to get back on the selectors’ radar and play for New Zealand in next year’s World Cup.
“It [World Cup] is certainly my focus, but at a more basic level than that it’s about enjoying the game again, going out and having fun, which I probably haven’t done since about 2014, “he said. “That was the main goal of my off-season, to get away from the game and enjoy it again at its most basic level. I got a bit too caught up in trying to be perfect and trying to contribute every game and that was probably detrimental.
“I had a moment last season with two-three contracts in front of me that would have required me to cut down what I was willing to play for New Zealand. I looked at the options and decided I wasn’t going to be able to look back on my career at 50 if I’d taken the easy option that early.”
Neesham has also been working on his fitness over the past few weeks in order to ensure he doesn’t succumb to injuries.
The Auckland native has a history of being sidelined for lengthy periods of time as he sustained a stress fracture in 2015 before suffering a rib injury and back spasms in the following two years.
“Looking at the fitness and strength results, I’m in one of the best spaces I’ve been in,” he said. “That’s allowed me to bowl more in the nets and hopefully get me to a space where my bowling is a point of difference over those other guys.
“After 2015 and having a stress fracture, it took me a couple of seasons to really get fully back into bowling again. Physically I was back to 100% but mentally it takes a while for you to trust your body again and know that bowling 25 overs isn’t going to mean you can’t walk for a week.”