Batsmen Khawaja, Burns and Voges earn Australia contracts
MELBOURNE – Batsmen Usman Khawaja, Adam Voges and Joe Burns have been rewarded for their strong form over the past 12 months by being awarded central contracts by Cricket Australia on Friday.
The trio became regulars in the side in the last year and have moved onto the centrally contracted list after the retirements of six players following last years’ unsuccessful Ashes series in England.
They were not on the original list but were upgraded throughout the season with the more matches they played.
Khawaja scored 713 runs in six tests at an average of 101.85 in the last 12 months, while he was also consistent in the small number of one-day and Twenty20 international matches he played.
Voges, who only made his test debut last June, posted a Donald Bradman-esque average, scoring 1,337 runs at an average of 95.59, with five centuries and four half centuries.
Burns scored three test centuries and 692 runs in his eight matches in the last 12 months at an average of 53.23.
Cricket Australia typically award between 17 and 20 central contracts each year. Centrally contracted players earn a minimum of A$270,000 ($206,577) for the year, with match payments on top of that.
Bowlers Nathan Coulter-Nile, John Hastings and Peter Siddle, who is battling stress fractures in his back, were all given central contracts, as was test wicketkeeper Peter Nevill.
“We believe the players chosen in this group are those that are right in contention to represent the country over the next 12 months,” chairman of selectors Rod Marsh said in a statement.
“Following a number of high-profile retirements, we believe this group of players gives us a healthy blend of youth and experience to represent Australia at the highest level, allowing us the best chance of maintaining our number-one rankings in test and ODI cricket, as well as improving our performances in the T20 format.”
Australia were knocked out of the World Twenty20 in India in the pool phase earlier this week, with their next tour a triangular one-day series against West Indies and South Africa in the Caribbean in June.
Centrally contracted players: George Bailey, Joe Burns, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Nevill, James Pattinson, Adam Voges, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner -Reuters