Shane Bond appears set for a fast-track return to Test cricket after being included among 20 players to be awarded central contracts by New Zealand Cricket.
The fast bowler had been left in the international wilderness as a result of his decision to play in the rebel Indian Cricket League but, having cut ties with the competition, the 34-year-old appears set to extend his top-flight career.
Unlike other countries, New Zealand Cricket has decided to immediately welcome back players who have been involved in the ICL provided, like Bond, they have severed links.
Bond last played for New Zealand at the 2007 World Cup and could make his Test return as early as August, when the Black Caps tour Sri Lanka.
He has said he hopes to represent New Zealand again in Tests, limited-overs and Twenty20 cricket.
Bond has played rarely of late but selector Glenn Turner is was confident the right-armer still has what it takes.
"Shane Bond is confident he can continue to contribute to the Black Caps," Turner said.
"He has performed well in the shorter form of the game at domestic level while his international track record is outstanding."
However, former team-mates Scott Styris, Jamie How and Peter Fulton were among players to lose contracts with six newcomers - fast bowlers Brent Arnel and Ian Butler, one-day specialists Grant Elliott and Neil Broom and top order batsmen Martin Guptill and Tim McIntosh - coming in.
"Some experienced players have missed out as a result of new players forcing their way into the top 20 and that's a good sign for the game," Turner added.
Other players to miss out after being included on last year's list include fast bowlers Mark Gillespie and Michael Mason and batsmen James Marshall and Aaron Redmond.
Contracted New Zealand players: Brent Arnel, Shane Bond, Neil Broom, Ian Butler, Grant Elliott, James Franklin, Daniel Flynn, Martin Guptill, Gareth Hopkins, Brendon McCullum, Tim McIntosh, Chris Martin, Kyle Mills, Iain O'Brien, Jacob Oram, Jeetan Patel, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Daniel Vettori.