Ed Cowan will be joined by three other new names in New South Wales’ 2015-16 squad after the Blues confirmed the opener’s one-year deal.
Cowan will return to the state where he began his first-class career in 2005 before moving to Tasmania in 2009-10. He will be joined in blue by off-spinner Wil Somerville and opening batsman Nick Larkin, both from Sydney University, and young Sutherland all-rounder Ben Dwarshuis.
Quick single: Cowan returns to NSW to chase Test dream
Scott Henry, who opened for NSW Blues during 2014-15, was delisted along with Patrick Pisel.
Somerville made his First Class debut for Otago in New Zealand in 2005 before making his maiden appearance for NSW at the start of last summer.
Larkin has been a consistent performer in First Grade and Second XI matches for the past two seasons, also impressing selectors during his four Bupa Sheffield Shield appearances in 2014-15, scoring 258 runs at 36.8 with a century against South Australia in Adelaide.
Nick Larkin has been included in the Blues' 2015-16 squad // Getty Images
Dwarshuis has been promoted to the senior squad after two years as a rookie. The left-arm swing bowler and hard hitting lower order batsman has also been part of the Sydney Sixers squad for the last two seasons.
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“We are delighted to have Ed Cowan back,” Cricket NSW chief executive Andrew Jones said.
“During his time in Tasmania, Ed has developed himself into an International player and we are very fortunate that he has chosen to bring his family home.”
NSW talent manager and chairman of selectors David Freedman said Cowan’s experience meant the Blues were well placed to be a threat next season.
“There hasn’t been much change to our squad from last season,” Freedman said.
“We have a lot of very talented young cricketers, like Nic Maddinson, Sean Abbott, Gurinder Sandhu and Kurtis Patterson, who have now played a few seasons of First Class cricket.
“Coupled with the significant experience of guys like Moises Henriques, Peter Nevill, Stephen O’Keefe, Doug Bollinger and now Ed Cowan, the squad is very well placed to challenge for titles next summer.”
Cowan left NSW at the end of the 2008-09 season for Tasmania, becoming one of the leading batsmen in the Bupa Sheffield Shield and playing 18 Tests for Australia.
The opener announced earlier this year he was returning to Sydney for family reasons, with no guarantee of a spot on the NSW list, but has proved too hot a commodity for the Blues to turn down.
His move back to the Blues effectively makes him a straight swap for teenage sensation Jake Doran who left the Blues to take up a contract with Tasmania.
Cricket NSW extended the contracts of Peter Nevill, Nic Maddinson, Sean Abbott and Kurtis Patterson for a further two years, and named five new rookies - Mickey Edwards, Henry Thornton, Daniel Solway, Jonte Pattison and Ryan Gibson.
Paceman Thornton was the leading wicket-taker during Australia’s under-19 series against England last month.
2015-16 NSW Blues squad:
Cricket Australia Contract: Michael Clarke, Pat Cummins, Brad Haddin, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson
Senior Contract: Sean Abbott, Doug Bollinger, Ryan Carters, Trent Copeland, Ed Cowan, Ben Dwarshuis, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Josh Lalor, Nick Larkin, Nic Maddinson, Peter Nevill, Stephen O’Keefe, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Gurinder Sandhu, Wil Somerville
Rookie Contract: Mickey Edwards, Henry Thornton, Daniel Solway, Jonte Pattison, Ryan Gibson, Harry Conway