Mitchell McClenaghan was once a factor in Blackcaps calculations, only in limited overs cricket though. As part of a the weird selection decisions from Lesson over the past 12 months, McClenaghan was selected in the Champions Trophy squad despite not having played an ODI since January 25, 2016 and guess what; McClenaghan didn't play a game in the Champions Trophy.
From that, McClenaghan was offered a NZC contract. None of this is to offer negative vibes to McClenaghan's career playing cricket for Aotearoa, McClenaghan's situation is a fine example of how strange these decisions from NZC/Blackcaps masterminds have been. Not only was McClenaghan selected in the CT squad despite not having actually played ODI cricket in over a year, McClenaghan was offered a NZC contract despite not having played an ODI or International T20 game since March 30, 2016.
It makes you wonder why McClenaghan snapped up that NZC contract. Less than a few months after signing that contract, McClenaghan and NZC sussed out a release so McClenaghan can take up the plethora of T20 opportunities that this wonderful cricketing world offers - what a time to be alive. McClenaghan is still available for Blackcaps selection, he just won't have the income from NZC and when McClenaghan says "new playing opportunities have arisen", that basically means that the security of an NZC contract has been replaced with security from T20 opportunities.
Don't sleep on McClenaghan having a range of other business interests outside of cricket, as well as all sorts of endorsement deals that being a recognizable face internationally offers. McClenaghan plays cricket all around the world, in front of many eyeballs, so his sponsorship/endorsement opportunities could possibly be greater than a few well-known (in Aotearoa) Blackcaps.
This is a glorious move for McClenaghan and all of it makes sense.
This has a few cheeky ramifications in the wider context of NZC's predicament though. The NZC press release specifically referred to the South African Global League and Big Bash League, even referencing the dates of these competitions. That may not seem overly crazy, until you ponder that these the dates NZC refer to ('South African competition runs from early November to December 16 and the BBL starts on December 19'), overlap with the Super Smash competition which starts on December 13 and excluding finals, runs until January 14.
Forget the battle between franchise T20 cricket and international cricket, McClenaghan appears to have chosen to play in the Global League and BBL over the Super Smash. It seems incredibly unlikely given the scheduling, that McClenaghan will be able to play more than a couple games for Auckland Aces, let alone one game.
McClenaghan is one of our best T20 cricketers and there's a reason why these 'new playing opportunities' are on the table - McClenaghan's good. Yet one of Aotearoa's best T20 cricketers won't be able to play in the Super Smash, along with Brendon McCullum and most of the limited overs Blackcaps.
How can you expect big Super Smash crowds if Aotearoa's best players aren't playing?
Having never played a Test and at 31-years-old, it's highly unlikely that McClenaghan will ever play a Test, so the Test vs franchise T20 battle that people hype up simply doesn't come into this equation. Add on top of that how silly international T20 cricket is and McClenaghan is wise to chose franchise T20 opportunities over representing the Blackcaps in T20 cricket, plus if McClenaghan dreams of playing an ODI World Cup, he can slide back into contention closer to that time.
This can be narrowed down to McClenaghan rolling with the Global League and BBL over the Super Smash, along with the other T20 leagues. Given that, it's kinda sad - definitely not surprising - that the Super Smash is the third best option of the Southern Hemisphere T20 leagues and must be considered near the bottom of the franchise T20 pile, on a more global scale. From the Caribbean Premier League to the Pakistan Super League, the Super Smash isn't much of a factor.
One day we'll see McClenaghan steaming in to bounce the heck out of Corey Anderson, then dismissing him the next delivery with a righteous slower ball. We've seen those sort of Super Smash contests before, but with the franchise T20 landscape and silly Blackcaps scheduling eating the Super Smash for brekky, we won't see such battles for a few years. At least until Daenerys Targaryen rolls up and drops a couple dragons on Aotearoa to break the wheel.
Peace and love 27.
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