Cricket Australia drop Khawaja, Stoinis, Coulter-Nile from contract list; Labuschagne, Burns, Agar in

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Marnus Labuschagne, Ashton Agar and Joe Burns along with three other new players made it to Cricket Australia’s list of centrally contracted men’s players for the 2020-21 season. Meanwhile, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Shaun Marsh and a few others missed out. Khawaja is a shock omission, being omitted from the contract list for the first time in five years. 

The Australian national selectors announced 20 men and 15 women in the 2020-21 contract list. South Australian, Tahlia McGrath was a surprise addition in the women’s list as she hasn’t played for the national team since 2017.

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CA men’s contract list: Ashton Agar, Joe Burns, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

CA women’s contract list: Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Meg Lanning, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham

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The list, which has come later than scheduled due to the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, features six new faces for the 2020-21 season — Mitchell Marsh, Ashton Agar, Burns, Labuschagne, Kane Richardson and Matthew Wade to the list.

“Marnus’s rise has been meteoric and well-documented, Joe has been a good test match player, Ashton Agar’s form in T20 internationals has been exceptional, while Kane Richardson has been outstanding in the 20-over and one-day games,” Chief selector Trevor Hohns said in a statement on Thursday.

Labuschagne has risen to no.3 in ICC rankings after making Test debut for Australia in 2018. In 14 Tests he has played, Labuschagne averages over 63 and has accumulated 1459 runs.

Burns averages over 50 in both Tests and ODIs.

The 33-year-old Khawaja, who missed out for the first time in five years, didn’t feature in any Test for Australia since losing his place after the third Test against England in August last year.

Besides Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Marcus Harris, and Shaun Marsh were also not included as Cricket Australia named 20 players in its new centrally-contracted list.

“Matthew Wade’s summer showed he is not only a tough but a good test player for us. His form extended into white ball cricket late in the summer, earning him well deserved call-ups to the one-day and T20 Australian squads.”

Talking about Mitchell Marsh’s inclusion, Hohns said: “After missing the list last year Mitch Marsh’s recent form showed he has a lot of international cricket ahead of him as a batting all-rounder.

“Mitch proved this with his man of the match performance against New Zealand at the SCG in the last game Australia played and a five-wicket haul in the last Test match he played on the Ashes tour.”

Players, who miss out on the initial contract list, can be upgraded during the year by accruing 12 upgrade points with Tests worth five points, ODIs two points and T20s one point for men.

“…there are always plenty of opportunities for those who have missed out to be re-selected by performing consistently at domestic level; and importantly to make the most of any opportunity that comes their way at international level,” Hohns said.

“As is always the case there are unlucky omissions but, however, because you are not on the list does not mean you cannot be selected to represent Australia,” he added.

National selectors also named 15 women who will be contracted for the next 12 months with South Australian Tahlia McGrath being a surprise addition on the women’s list having not played for the national side since 2017.

Fast-bowling all-rounder McGrath and young guns Tayla Vlaeminck and Annabel Sutherland are the new faces on the women’s list, while Nicole Bolton, Elyse Villani and Erin Burns have missed out.