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Contracts underline changing of the guard

24 April 2017

Burns, Siddle, Faulkner, Bailey and Nevill // Getty

Sam Ferris


Sam Ferris


Bulk changes in the list of personnel offered central contracts a stark reminder of just how much has changed

Nearly half of the male players currently on Cricket Australia central contracts have not been offered new deals for the 2017-18 season.

CA today detailed the 20 men and 13 women who have been offered contracts for the next financial year, pending the outcome of Memorandum of Understanding negotiations with the Australian Cricketers' Association.

Quick Single: CA details contract offers for 2017-18

But nine of the 20 men who started 2016-17 season on a central deal have missed out in the latest offer, including veterans such as Peter Siddle, Shaun Marsh and James Faulkner.

Siddle missed most of last summer after injuring his back in the first Test against South Africa in Perth.

The 32-year-old, who has played 62 Tests since his debut in 2008, is now in the peloton of pace bowlers that includes Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and Jackson Bird, all of whom were awarded with contract offers.

Studio Sessions: Siddle's five-fer in Hobart

Siddle however is confident he is in Australia's best Test XI when fully fit.

"I've shown that when I'm at 100 per cent (fitness), I'm one of the first picked and my record speaks for itself," Siddle told in March.

Shaun Marsh was overlooked for a central contract after playing nine international matches (six Tests, three ODIs) in the current financial year.

Marsh innings helps save third Test in Ranchi

The left-hander, who turns 34 in July and averaged 31.83 in Tests in 2016-17, is Australia's incumbent No.4 but faces stiff competition from Usman Khawaja, who has been a run machine at home in the past two seasons, and the likes of Travis Head and Glenn Maxwell for a spot in Australia's Test batting order.

Quick Single: Maxwell relaxed about Ashes hopes

After being overlooked for Australia's Champions Trophy squad last Thursday, Faulkner today suffered a further setback when he was not offered a CA central contract.

Faulkner was the 2015 World Cup final player of the match and has taken 25 wickets in 13 ODIs since 1 July 2016.

Faulkner claims ODI hat-trick

The right-hander's output with the bat belies his potential, averaging just 15.71 with a top score of 25 in the past year.

In announcing the Champions Trophy squad, National Selector Trevor Hohns confirmed Faulkner had fallen behind rivals.

Quick Single: Australia's Champs Trophy squad named

"James has been a consistent performer for the one-day squad for several years, however with players such as Pattinson, Cummins and (John) Hastings coming back to full fitness and the emergence of Marcus Stoinis, James was squeezed out of the squad and an unlucky omission," said Hohns.

Allrounders Maxwell, Head, Mitchell Marsh, Ashton Agar and Hilton Cartwright all pipped Faulkner for a contract offer.

Twelve months ago, Joe Burns was still revelling in his match-winning performance in the second Test in New Zealand, but now he's out of the Test team.

Burns' Test best an excellent return

A torrid tour of Sri Lanka last winter saw him dropped as David Warner's opening partner before his one-off return in Hobart yielded scores of 1 and 0.

Now the 27-year-old is behind Queensland teammate Matthew Renshaw for a Test opener's berth with weight of runs at domestic level required to push his state comrade for a Test recall.

Like Burns, Peter Nevill's last Test was in Hobart, dropped as the new-look National Selection Panel revamped the Test outfit.

Nevill finishes unbeaten on 143

Nevill's output with the bat was the reason behind his exclusion, but the Blues wicketkeeper responded in dramatic fashion by posting three Sheffield Shield centuries for NSW following his demotion.

George Bailey, at 34, has lost his spot in Australia's ODI side and his CA contract.

The former limited-overs captain, an undefeated Ashes winner, averaged 38.54 in 14 ODIs since the last contracts were issued, but a lean run of form and the emergence of master blaster Chris Lynn sent the veteran out of the team.

Bailey responds to ODI axing with unbeaten 69

However, the 34-year-old proved he's still got plenty of the runs in the bank as he finished third on the Shield's leading run-scorer's list with a maiden double-century to boot.

Pace bowlers Nathan Coulter-Nile and John Hastings battled injury in 2016-17 and were not offered contracts, but greener pastures don't look far away.

Hastings was included in Australia's 15-man Champions Trophy squad while Coulter-Nile has made a stunning comeback from injury to star for Kolkata in this year's Indian Premier League.

Coulter-Nile back with a bang for Kolkata

Finally, Adam Voges's retirement from first-class cricket at season's end precluded him from consideration for a contract.

The prolific right-hander enjoyed a brilliant 20-Test career, posting five centuries and averaging a staggering 61.87.

While 20 start the year on central contracts, players can be upgraded from their State deals to CA contracts by earning national selection.

In the current year, 10 players were upgraded through weight of appearances in international matches.

Six of those players – Adam Zampa, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Jackson Bird, Peter Handscomb and Matthew Renshaw – were offered full contracts on Monday. The other four – Scott Boland, Nic Maddinson, Moises Henriques and Stephen O'Keefe – were overlooked.

For male players to be upgraded, they need to earn 12 points, which are awarded at the rate of five points per Test played, two for an ODI and one for each T20 international.

Ashes ticket sales key dates

May 1: Tickets on sale to ACF Gold members

May 3: Tickets on sale to all ACF members

May 8: Tickets on sale to the general public

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2017-18 International Fixtures:

Men's Ashes Series

First Test Gabba, November 23-27

Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night)

Third Test Perth TBC, December 14-18

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test)

ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14

Second ODI Gabba, January 19

Third ODI SCG, January 21

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26

Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2

T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21

About the Writer


Sam Ferris is a Sydney-based journalist for He started in 2011 as a Big Bash League correspondent and continues to monitor the domestic scene and national sides closely.