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‘Blacklisted’: Ex-Black Cap takes aim at NZ Cricket

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sat, 11 May 2024, 2:37pm
Colin Munro hasn't played for New Zealand since 2021. Photo / Getty Images
Colin Munro hasn't played for New Zealand since 2021. Photo / Getty Images

‘Blacklisted’: Ex-Black Cap takes aim at NZ Cricket

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sat, 11 May 2024, 2:37pm

Ex-Black Caps batter Colin Munro believes he was “blacklisted” by New Zealand Cricket for opting to ply his trade as a Twenty20 freelancer. 

Munro, 37, has not played for the Black Caps at any level since 2020, but on Friday officially confirmed his time as an international is done. 

While he hasn’t appeared for New Zealand in more than four years, Munro has been a fixture in overseas Twenty20 leagues as one of the most prominent faces in the franchise game. 

But speaking to Newstalk ZB’s Jason Pine, Munro questioned the approach of New Zealand Cricket, and former chief executive David White, for overlooking players seeking to make the most of professional opportunities. 

“I’ve always been available,” he said. “Under David White, if you were playing franchise cricket and weren’t playing domestic cricket in New Zealand, you were sort of blacklisted, I think. 

“It was never told [like] that to me, but I think it was. There were the likes of Anton Devcich, myself, Mitchell McClenaghan, those players who all chose franchise cricket. 

“As soon as you weren’t playing in New Zealand, there was a black mark next to your name. You weren’t going to play.” 

Munro isn’t alone in that regard either. 

As one of New Zealand’s white ball greats, Martin Guptill hasn’t worn the silver fern at any level since he opted out of his central contract in late 2022.  

However, under new chief executive Scott Weenink, New Zealand Cricket appears to have relaxed its selection criteria.  

The pair of Trent Boult and Jimmy Neesham, both without central contracts to pursue franchise opportunities, were selected for last year’s 50-over World Cup in India, and the upcoming T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and US. 

As the Black Caps picked a heavily depleted squad to tour Pakistan earlier this year, Munro turned down an approach to return to the fold to spend time with his family after finishing his commitments with Islamabad United. 

And having made the initial approach to see him return, Munro also questioned why New Zealand Cricket would sound him out, only to overlook him altogether. 

Colin Munro (left) and Martin Guptill have both been consistently overlooked by New Zealand Cricket after opting to pursue franchise cricket. Photo / PhotosportColin Munro (left) and Martin Guptill have both been consistently overlooked by New Zealand Cricket after opting to pursue franchise cricket. Photo / Photosport 

“It was my dream, I thought it was gone,” he said. “Then you get a phone call out of the blue [to ask] are you available for a World Cup? 

“You get up and about, start thinking and dreaming like a young kid. You haven’t played for four years, so you think you could probably get up to have one last hurrah in the black jersey, in conditions that I’m really familiar with in Trinidad. 

“Then the World Cup squad was announced. I’m not going to lie, I was a little bit gutted I wasn’t in there, just because I was in talks and in the frame. 

“But I can fully understand why. Those boys fully deserve it, I’ll be behind them every step of the way. 

“I just don’t know why that was put in front of me. It would have been nice to know, did I have to go on the Pakistan tour? They said I didn’t have to, that’s why I ended up choosing not to. 

“If I had gone over there and done well, I still might not have gone to the World Cup.” 

If Munro had been selected for the World Cup, the Black Caps would have gained a valuable asset. 

In the history of T20 cricket, only 11 players have appeared in more matches for the Black Caps. 

All up, Munro has 428 appearances in the shortest format, with 79 of them coming for the Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League. 

Trinbago’s home ground of the Brian Lara Cricket Academy is where the Black Caps will play three matches at this year’s World Cup, against hosts West Indies, Uganda and Papua New Guinea. 

At international level, Munro played 65 T20 Internationals, and was the first man to score three centuries for his country in the shortest format. 

That number could have been higher, were it not for spending the past four years on the sidelines. 

In 2020, Munro lost his New Zealand Cricket central contract, and opted to dedicate his career to the shortest format as a T20 gun for hire. 

Since then, he’s accrued experience playing everywhere from Australia’s Big Bash League to Canada’s Global T20. 

Alex Powell is an Online Sports Editor for the NZ Herald. He has been a sports journalist since 2016, and previously worked for both Newshub and 1News. 

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