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cricket:image:1302405 [900x600] (Credit: Getty Images)

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Batter Lauren Down is set to return to New Zealand Cricket's list of contracted women players. She was one of 17 players to be offered a central contract for 2024-25. Down had declined the contract offer last season while on a maternity break, but was named in the ODI squad to tour England later this month.

Down, who has played 28 ODIs and 13 T20Is, last represented New Zealand in an ODI against Bangladesh in December 2022.

The 2024-25 contracting period begins on August 1, with the players having until June 17 to accept the offer.

Also named in the contracts list was wicketkeeper-batter Polly Inglis, who received the offer for the first time. Inglis got 103 runs for New Zealand A in three one-dayers against England A at home in March, as the hosts won the series 2-1. Before that, she hit 324 runs - the second-most - in NZC's Women's One-Day Competition, the domestic 50-over tournament for women.

New Zealand women's head coach Ben Sawyer said: "We've landed on a strong list of 17 names that we think are going to play an important part over the next 12 months... A big part of the selection process this year was looking at who could take part in the 2025 ODI World Cup."

Among the centrally-contracted players from 2023-24, the ones to miss out are wicketkeeper-batter Bernadine Bezuidenhout - who has retired from international cricket - and batter Kate Anderson, who wasn't given an offer.

New Zealand Women central contract offers for 2024-25

Suzie Bates, Eden Carson, Sophie Devine, Lauren Down, Izzy Gaze, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Polly Inglis, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Jess Kerr, Amelia Kerr, Rosemary Mair, Molly Penfold, Georgia Plimmer, Hannah Rowe and Lea Tahuhu