Cricket Australia offers contract to 25 players

By IANS, Melbourne: After creating history by completing a hat-trick of World Cup wins, the Australian cricket board Tuesday offered contract to 25 players, selected by the National Selection Panel (NSP), for a period of 12 months.

The contracted players will be paid a base retainer amount, which is levelled according to a player ranking system decided by the NSP. Each contracted player will also receive match fees, tour fees and prize money for on-field success.

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All the players who were a part of the triumphant team that won the World Cup in the Caribbean have been offered the contracts, except Glenn McGrath, who retired from international cricket.

Besides McGrath, Shane Warne, Damien Martyn and Justin Langer, who had announced their retirement departed from the list. Those whose contracts were not renewed were Michael Kasprowicz and Simon Katich.

Andrew Hilditch chairman of the NSP said that the selectors had chosen an evenly balanced list of senior players combined with some of Australia’s young emerging talent.

“With the recent retirements of great players in Warne, McGrath, Langer and Martyn, Australian cricket is presented with a great challenge over the next 24 months,” Hilditch said.

“While we are thrilled with the team’s recent performances in claiming the Champions Trophy, the Ashes series and the World Cup we can now look forward to what can be seen as a new era for Australian cricket.

“This list of players still represents a very experienced group but also includes some exciting young talent that will ensure our reign as champions in both Test and one-day cricket can continue,” he said.

Hilditch also said that the retirement of Warne is a significant issue for Australian cricket. However, he added that the presence of Stuart MacGill and Brad Hogg is a positive sign.

“As with Warne, the retirement of McGrath leaves a huge hole for Australian cricket, but the squad contains some really exciting fast-bowling talent in Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson and now the addition to the contracted list of Ben Hilfenhaus for the first time,” said Hilditch.

“While it still going to be a challenging time for Australian cricket, we consider it to be a very exciting one and are really confident that the group we have picked can help to continue our dominance of world cricket.”

The list: Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark, Michael Clarke, Daniel Cullen, Adam Gilchrist, Jason Gillespie, Brad Haddin, Matthew Hayden, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, James Hopes, Michael Hussey, Phil Jaques, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Stuart MacGill, Ricky Ponting, Andrew Symonds, Shaun Tait, Shane Watson, Cameron White, Cullen Bailey, Chris Rogers and Adam Voges.