Usman Khawaja has missed out on a Cricket Australia national contract for the first time in five years, while Test sensation Marnus Labuschagne has been included ahead of the 2020/21 season.
- Usman Khawaja has not played a Test for Australia since the Ashes series in England last year
- Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb were also among the omissions from the men’s contract list
- Tahlia McGrath was added to the women’s list following a three-year absence from the national set-up
Khawaja, who has not played a Test since last year’s Ashes series in England, was a high-profile omission, as national selectors announced 20 men and 15 women who will be contracted for the next 12 months.
There are six changes among the men’s contracts, while all-rounder Tahlia McGrath has been added to the women’s list despite not having played for Australia since 2017.
Khawaja, a veteran of 44 Tests and 40 one-day internationals, was joined Nathan Coulter-Nile, Marcus Harris, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh and Marcus Stoinis among the players axed from the men’s list.
Not surprisingly, Labuschagne earned a contract after taking Test cricket by storm last summer, while Joe Burns, Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Marsh and Kane Richardson were also upgraded.
“We feel all deserve their inclusion recognising the performances of those players in the past 12 months and, as importantly, what they can offer in the next 12 months,” men’s national selector Trevor Hohns said in a statement.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
McGrath rewarded for consistency
McGrath’s elevation to the women’s contract list comes after an absence from the national scene lasting almost three years.
The 24-year-old was joined by Tayla Vlaeminck and Annabel Sutherland among the new faces, while Nicole Bolton, Elyse Villani and Erin Burns were left off the contract list.
“She’s (McGrath) been a consistent performer over the last few seasons with bat and ball, including the five matches she played for Australia during the 2017 Ashes series,” women’s national selector Shawn Flegler said.
“We saw that depth come into play during the recent World Cup and we know that will be important with another World Cup scheduled this summer.
“Given the success of the Australian women’s team across all formats over the past 12 months, beginning with an Ashes victory in July and culminating in a historic ICC T20 World Cup victory last month, the contract list has remained relatively consistent year-on-year.
“The door is not closed on any of the players who did not receive a new CA contract.”
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 Ware