Blues reward youth while Sangha seeks greener fields

NSW have added a trio of young World Cup stars to their ranks, adding to the previously confirmed arrivals of Nic Maddinson and Josh Philippe

Australia under-19 World Cup heroes Sam Konstas, Ryan Hicks and Charlie Anderson have earned New South Wales contracts as the Blues continue to invest in youth ahead of the 2024-25 summer.

The trio of teenagers, who were members of the outfit that defeated India at Benoni last February to lift the ICC trophy, have been included in the list of 27 contracted men's players (plus five rookies) released by Cricket NSW today.

That includes seven players holding Cricket Australia contracts – Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Sean Abbott and Adam Zampa – as well as veterans Moises Henriques and Jackson Bird (both 37), Daniel Hughes (35), Chris Tremain (32) and Kurtis Patterson (31).

Konstas, the 18-year-old batting sensation who played three Sheffield Shield games last summer, has been elevated to a full contract along with impressive young fast bowler Jack Nisbet while keeper-batter Hicks and promising quick Anderson (both 19) have landed rookie deals.

"Sam (Konstas) and Jack (Nisbet) both confirmed their talent and development at the domestic level last season and are deserving of their elevation to full contracts," Cricket NSW Chief of Cricket Performance Greg Mail said today.

"By the same account, Ryan Hicks and Charlie Anderson showed internationally at under-19 level and then through weight of consistency at Premier Cricket level that they were ready for rookie contracts and a full-time professional opportunity."

Another emerging pace bowler Will Salzmann – the Blues' second-highest wicket-taker in their surge to the Marsh One-Day Cup final last season – is another to gain a rookie contract, along with Joel Davies (younger brother of breakthrough batting star, Oliver) and another keeper-batter Lachlan Shaw.

The surfeit of glovemen plus the recruitment of ex-Western Australia keeper Josh Philippe – who with former Blues batter Nic Maddinson were prized post-season signings announced last month – has seen Baxter Holt squeezed from the contract list, along with highly-rated top-order batter Jason Sangha.

Sangha is seeking further opportunities elsewhere and has been linked with a potential move to South Australia while Holt has also reportedly attracted interest from WA, with batter Blake McDonald and seamers Ross Pawson and Hunar Verma not offered new NSW deals.

A former Australia under-19 captain who led Australia to the 2018 World Cup in New Zealand, Sangha found himself on the outer of NSW’s Shield and Marsh Cup teams in the latter half of the previous summer.

The 24-year-old played the most recent of his 39 first-class games against Tasmania at the SCG in late November, scoring 1785 runs at 27.46 (with four centuries) across his six years at Shield level with the Blues.

He will spend the winter in the UK playing for Kent League club St Lawrence and Highland Court.

Holt made 12 Shield appearances as well as 12 List-A games for the Blues between 2019 and 2022, while McDonald featured four times in each of the Shield and Marsh Cup formats and Pawson and Verma remained uncapped.

David Warner has also not received a contract having announced his plans to retire from international and first-class cricket following the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and USA.

"Each of those players have given wholehearted support to the Blues program and it is difficult to see them depart," Mail said.

"We wish each of them the best in the next steps of their cricketing journeys."

After a couple of lean summers, NSW climbed to third on the Shield ladder last season in addition to finishing runners-up (behind WA) in the Marsh Cup, and the addition of Australia-capped pair Maddinson and Philippe potentially adds significant firepower to their top-order.

"Players of the calibre of Josh (Philippe) and Nic (Maddinson) don't become available every season and we are extremely happy to welcome them into the group," Mail said.

"Both bring a number of strengths and wealth of experience and they will help the balance and depth of our squad.

"We have a really solid group of experienced senior players that can aid in the growth of our emerging talent.

"As a squad we made some big steps forward this summer and we are looking forward to continuing on that trajectory next season."

The Blues begin their pre-season training at their recently completed Cricket Central headquarters in June.

New South Wales 2024-25 squad: Sean Abbott*, Jackson Bird, Pat Cummins*, Oliver Davies, Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Matt Gilkes, Chris Green, Ryan Hackney, Ryan Hadley, Liam Hatcher, Josh Hazlewood*, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Hayden Kerr, Sam Konstas, Nathan Lyon*, Nic Maddinson, Blake Nikitaras, Jack Nisbet, Kurtis Patterson, Josh Philippe, Tanveer Sangha, Steve Smith*, Mitchell Starc*, Chris Tremain, Adam Zampa*. Rookies: Charlie Anderson, Joel Davies, Ryan Hicks, Will Salzmann, Lachlan Shaw


Ins: Nic Maddinson, Josh Philippe, Sam Konstas.


Outs: Baxter Holt, Blake MacDonald, Ross Pawson, Jason Sangha, David Warner*


*Cricket Australia contract

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