Following the severity of sanctions imposed by Cricket Australia (CA) on Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal, everyone in the cricketing fraternity was quite keen to know about the new central contracts of Australian players.
On Wednesday (April 10), CA announced the heavily revamped list of nationally contracted players, minus the suspended Smith, Warner and Bancroft. The list of 20 men’s players for the 2018-19 season was prepared on the basis of their performances over the past 12 months. Cricketers who fetched the central contract for the first time are – Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Andrew Tye, Marcus Stoinis and Alex Carey.
While the newly appointed Test captain Tim Paine and southpaw Shaun Marsh rejoined the list, leg-spinner Adam Zampa, speedsters Jackson Bird and James Pattinson, all-rounder Hilton Cartwright and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade were subbed from new central contracts.
Chadd Sayers, who made his Test debut against South Africa in the fourth Test at Wanderers, was also left out from the contracted players’ list. The minimum value of a contract for the forthcoming season is Aus$286,000 (US$222,000).
“This period is set to include a significant amount of limited-overs cricket, including the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales,” national selector Trevor Hohns said according to AFP.
“For that reason, there has been a bit of a focus in this contracting period on white-ball cricket, as we look ahead to trying to win back-to-back World Cups,” he added.
The 22-year-old Test opener, Matt Renshaw managed to retain his contract whereas Joe Burns failed to make the grade. Both of them were inducted into Australia squad for the Johannesburg Test after Smith, Warner and Bancroft were sent back home over the ball-tampering controversy.
“It’s a tough process, but we’re very satisfied with this group of 20 players. We think this a well-balanced list to represent Australia across all three formats,” Hohns said.
Following their investigation, CA had banned Smith and Warner for 12 months, while Cameron Bancroft was handed a 9-month suspension from international cricket. Besides the imposed sanctions, Cricket Australia had also stated that each one of the convicted trio will have to complete 100 hours of community service before being considered for future selection.
While Smith and Bancroft will have to wait two years before they are considered for leadership roles, Warner will never again be considered for captaincy as he was found to be the instigator of the plan.
Australia’s Centrally Contracted Players List:
Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine, Matt Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye.