Cricket Australia released the list of players who have been included in the national contract for the upcoming season. Former Test vice-captain Travis Head and Matthew Wade are among five national players aren’t on the list.
While some big names have missed out, young Cameron Green has been included in the 17-man list. Earlier, 20 players were nationally contracted. All-rounder Mitchell Marsh, opener Joe Burns and Matthew Wade have been excluded from the list.
Surprisingly, all-rounder Marcus Stoinis did not receive a national contract despite being elevated to the national list last season after his recall to Australia’s ODI and T20I ranks. Moreover, opener Will Pucovski who, like Green, made his Test debut in the series against India has been excluded from the 17-player list.
Marcus Harris was also unable to find a place on the list. However, Travis Head’s exclusion from the list of contracted players came as a huge surprise.
The left-hander was in tremendous form in the Marsh Sheffield Shield season where he finished as the second-highest run-scorer behind Green but lost his place in the Test line-up after failing to score big at the international stage.
The handy left-hander is scheduled to travel to the United Kingdom next week to begin a stint with county outfit Sussex. However, Head has a chance of earning a contract as those who miss out on the initial contract list can be upgraded during the year by earning selection in national teams.
Players need to accrue 12 upgrade points to earn a contract, with Tests worth five points, ODIs two points and T20s one point. Australia coach Justin Langer revealed the contract list was scheduled to be released publicly yesterday but was held back because selectors had been unable to contact one of the players, as the contracted cricketers are currently on mandated annual leave.
Langer also noted the rationale for reducing the number of CA contracts was to increase competitiveness among top-level players.