Injury ends keeper's career, Vics upgrade rookies
Wicketkeeper Seb Gotch's retirement due to a chronic finger injury has been confirmed with Victoria naming their men's squad for the 2022-23 season
12 May 2022, 01:24 PM AEST
Victorian wicketkeeper Seb Gotch has called time on his professional career with a debilitating finger injury forcing him into premature retirement.
The 28-year-old had a year left on his state contract with the Vics but didn't play at all last summer after the injury to the index finger on his right hand left him unable to hold a bat.
Gotch was one of four players left out of Victoria's squad as the Marsh Sheffield Shield runners-up announced their men's contract list for the 2022-23 season.
Opening batter James Seymour, rookie fast bowler Xavier Crone and middle-order batter Tom Jackson have been delisted.
Emerging off-spinner Todd Murphy, who was last month included in the Australia A squad for the tour of Sri Lanka in June, has been upgraded to a full contract, as has tall right-arm fast bowler Cameron McClure, who made both his one-day and first-class debuts in March this year.
Twenty-year-old run machine Ashley Chandrasinghe, who hit 423 runs at 84 in three Second XI matches last season, and top order batter Campbell Kellaway, who was Australia's second-most prolific batter at the U19 World Cup earlier this year with 239 at 47, have each received rookie deals for 2022-23.
Gotch suffered the chronic finger injury while keeping during the 2020-21 Marsh Sheffield Shield season with his last match coming against Western Australia at the WACA in March 2021, making 32 and 35.
Off-season surgery was not successful in his bid to fix the issue.
A talented junior footballer with the Oakleigh Chargers and Caulfield Grammar, Gotch switched his focus to cricket with a breakout 2013-14 season for Premier Cricket club Melbourne earning him a rookie deal the following season, which was upgraded to a full contract in 2016-17.
Gotch had also captained an Australia under-19 side featuring future Test players Cameron Bancroft, Kurtis Patterson and Ashton Agar in a Test and ODI series against the West Indies in 2011.
He made his first-class debut for Victoria in February 2017, finishing his career with 1,187 runs at 33.91 from 29 matches, which includes two centuries and 108 dismissals.
He also played 17 List A matches for Victoria and the Cricket Australia XI, along with 36 KFC BBL appearances for Melbourne Stars.
Fast bowler Brody Couch, who played all 14 Melbourne Stars matches in KFC BBL|11 and four of Victoria's six Marsh Cup fixtures last season along with his first-class debut in November, did not have his rookie deal upgraded.
But Couch, who hails from Nirranda in southwest Victoria and is about to begin his third season with Victoria, said he was happy just to get a great opportunity throughout the 2021-22 summer.
"The goal was to cement myself into the white-ball setup at Victoria and I sort of feel like I was able to contribute there, I played majority of the games," he told cricket.com.au.
"Overall, I was pretty happy to get a great opportunity, whether that was with the white ball with Victoria or the Big Bash, and then obviously, my Shield debut was pretty awesome just to get a taste of what it's all about.
"In the last two years, just with my experiences, even training with the Renegades for 12 months prior to actually playing for the Stars, and then getting a little bit of a taste of white-ball cricket … another 12 months has gone on and I've matured a little bit and that's definitely helped me in this season.
"The next step is just backing my ability in all situations and believing I'm up to the level.
"(Next season) I want to take another step up with my fitness and my workloads because I want to play a lot more red-ball cricket for Victoria."
Outgoing Cricket Victoria General Manager of Cricket Performance, Shaun Graf, who will be replaced by Graham Manou in June, said they were focused on continuing to develop their emerging talent.
"The progression of Murphy and McClure this season was very pleasing, they were both presented with some difficult situations in matches and were able to make good decisions and perform strongly," Graf said.
"We're excited for Todd to get an opportunity to tour Sri Lanka with Australia A and look forward to following that closely."
Victoria men's 2022-23 contract list: Scott Boland*, Travis Dean, Zak Evans, Aaron Finch*, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Peter Handscomb, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Jon Holland, Nic Maddinson, Cameron McClure, Glenn Maxwell*, Jono Merlo, Todd Murphy, Tom O'Connell, Wil Parker, James Pattinson, Mitchell Perry, Will Pucovski, Matt Short, Will Sutherland. Rookies: Ashley Chandrasinghe, Brody Couch, Sam Elliott, Campbell Kellaway, Fergus O'Neill
* Cricket Australia contract
Ins: Cameron McClure (upgraded), Ashley Chandrasinghe (rookie), Campbell Kellaway (rookie), Todd Murphy (upgraded). Outs: Xavier Crone (delisted), Seb Gotch (retired), James Seymour (delisted), Tom Jackson (delisted)