Aussie white-ball stars drop off WA contract list

Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff and Andrew Tye free to pursue T20 franchise opportunities overseas after not signing state deals

White-ball specialists Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff and Andrew Tye have become T20 guns for hire overnight with the Australia-capped quartet not part of Western Australia's state list for next season.

The group – who boast 271 international caps between them – were not part of WA's 30-player men's squad for 2024-25 announced this morning and will now be free to pursue opportunities on the T20 franchise circuit outside of their Big Bash and international commitments for Australia.

Stoinis, Agar and Behrendorff – who is the nation's reigning men's T20 player of the year but is recovering from a broken left leg that ruled him out of the ongoing Indian Premier League season – are all pushing to be part of Australia's squad for the T20 World Cup in June.

Western Australia men’s 2024-25 contract list: Cameron Bancroft, Hilton Cartwright, Cooper Connolly, Brody Couch, Keaton Critchell, Sam Fanning, Cameron Gannon, Cameron Green*, Aaron Hardie*, Jayden Goodwin, Liam Haskett, Baxter Holt, Josh Inglis*, Bryce Jackson, Matthew Kelly, Mitch Marsh*, Hamish McKenzie, Lance Morris*, Joel Paris, Jhye Richardson*, Corey Rocchiccioli, D'Arcy Short, Charlie Stobo, Ashton Turner, Sam Whiteman, Teague Wyllie. Rookies: Mahli Beardman, Sam Greer, Josh Vernon, Corey Wasley


Ins: Brody Couch, Keaton Critchell, Baxter Holt, Corey Wasley


Outs: Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Josh Philippe (NSW), Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye


* Denotes Cricket Australia contract

Stoinis has been a regular member of both Australia's white-ball teams, Behrendorff has played eight of the 14 T20 internationals in the past year and Agar last played for the country in September where he hit a match-winning unbeaten 48 in the first ODI but also picked up a calf injury that forced him out of the ODI World Cup squad and the first half of the domestic summer.

WA high performance boss Kade Harvey stressed the Perth Scorchers trio of Agar, Behrendorff and Tye remained "valued members of the WA Cricket setup" and would still be supported by the state's high-performance program.

It means they will continue to be welcome at state training and able use the WA Cricket facilities, but they will no longer earn a salary for being there when not representing the Big Bash club.

The trio, along with Stoinis, can also still make themselves available to be considered for WA selection. If selected, they would earn match payments, and if they play enough games during the season they would then be eligible to upgraded to a minimum state contract.

Marcus Stoinis helped Lucknow Super Giants to a win over Chennai Super Kings in last night's IPL // AFP via Getty

But more likely is the group become full-time freelancers on the T20 circuit with Tye already heading down that path in February 2023 when – while also off-contract with WA for the 2022-23 season – he missed two 50-over matches to play in the Pakistan Super League before returning for the Marsh Cup final to help WA down South Australia.

While Agar said during last season's Big Bash he just wanted to play as much cricket as he could whatever the format having had a long time out of the game with injury, Stoinis also played in overseas T20 leagues in South Africa and India during the last Australian domestic season.

That path is becoming increasingly more common within Australian domestic ranks with Daniel Sams declining a NSW contract for last season, as did Kane Richardson at Queensland.

Every wicket: Reliable Behrendorff productive for Perth again

David Warner is also set to follow after the T20 World Cup in the United States and Caribbean after fully retiring from international cricket.

"I think the beauty of this decision, it allows me to be available for everything," Agar told ESPN. "Obviously, if there's a white-ball (franchise) opportunity that comes up I'm able to take that now. But if there isn't and I am available to play a Shield game for WA, of course I would take that opportunity. This decision is all about playing as much cricket as possible."

But WA's mutual decision (with the four players) not to have them on the state list next season – three of which (Agar, Stoinis and Behrendorff) are also coming off Cricket Australia central contracts – also highlights an increasing divide between the state men's cricket's red- and white-ball programs.

The six states are becoming increasing reluctant to contract white-ball only players for seven Marsh One-Day Cup games when the Sheffield Shield season is almost six times longer.

Sam Heazlett lost his Queensland contract prior to last season despite playing every 50-over match during the previous campaign, and was then selected in the opening five matches of the Bulls 2023-24 Marsh Cup season.

Mackenzie Harvey was also delisted by Victoria at the end of the 2022-23 season despite featuring regularly in the Marsh Cup over the previous two seasons.

Behrendorff and Tye played their last Shield matches in 2017-18, Stoinis has played two in the past four seasons due to his international commitments, while Agar has been leapfrogged by emerging off-spinner Corey Rocchiccioli.

The three-time reigning Shield and Marsh Cup champions have added four players to their list for next season, strengthening their pace stocks with former Victorian right-armer Brody Couch and their allrounder depth with 27-year-old Keaton Critchell earning his first state deal.

Critchell struck consecutive centuries for WA's Second XI last February before making his Marsh Cup debut against Tasmania the following week.

Former NSW wicketkeeper Baxter Holt has swapped places with Josh Philippe, who elected to leave WA for the Blues for greater opportunity after he was dropped for the last three games of the Shield season when Josh Inglis returned from international duties.

Australia under-19 World Cup-winning squad member Corey Wasley rounds out the new signings, earning his maiden professional contract after playing two Youth Tests and five Youth ODIs over the past 12 months.

The 18-year-old batter replaces Jayden Goodwin on the rookie list, with Goodwin promoted to full contract following a breakout Sheffield Shield campaign.

Harvey said WA were happy with the balance of their list and believes they are "well placed to continue (their) incredible run of success".

"Securing another wicketkeeper was a priority with Josh Philippe leaving for NSW," he said.

"We think Baxter has lots of potential with the bat and gloves, so we're excited to see how he goes when an opportunity presents.

"Brody generates good pace and bounce and loves the contest. We really like his raw attributes, which should be well suited to the conditions in WA."

There are six CA contracted players in the WA squad for next season – allrounders Mitch Marsh, Cameron Green and Aaron Hardie, 'keeper Inglis, and express quicks Jhye Richardson and Lance Morris.

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