Here's the CA contracted players for the 2010/11 season:
Doug Bollinger (NSW), Michael Clarke (NSW), Callum Ferguson (SA), Brad Haddin (NSW), Ryan Harris (QLD), Nathan Hauritz (NSW), Ben Hilfenhaus (TAS), James Hopes( QLD), Phillip Hughes (NSW), Michael Hussey (WA), Mitchell Johnson (WA), Simon Katich (NSW), Brett Lee (NSW), Shaun Marsh (WA), Andrew McDonald (VIC), Clint McKay (VIC), Marcus North (WA), Tim Paine (TAS), Ricky Ponting (TAS), Peter Siddle (VIC), Steven Smith (NSW), Shaun Tait (SA), Adam Voges (WA), Shane Watson (NSW), Cameron White (VIC).
Quite a shift in the times. NSW as always dominate but how about it, single figure there. 5 WA reps, and SA and QLD are on par! Tassie done well with 3 representatives. So it's a good mix which says alot about the State system although keep in mind both Mitch and Watto have yet to play for their newly adopted States.
I am especially pleased for Tim Paine to get himself a contract. He has done an outstanding job for the guys with the gloves when he stepped in when Hads bust his finger and he let that flow into his batting where he opened for us in numerous ODI's and represented us at the ICC Champions Trophy. He has shown exceptional mental toughness and was unlucky not to hook up another 3 or 4 fifties. So good on ya Tim and I am all for this man taking over Wicketkeeper duties in the distant future. Meantime he must continue to do his best for Tassie while Hads is on duty.
Callum Ferguson has retained his contract which I am also mighty pleased about. Fergal is a little beauty when he gets stuck into the opposition with a crafty approach to his batting. He does his job like a silent assassin, easily adding forty runs at nearly every opportunity he gets. After messing up his knee in the Champions Trophy final (I cringe when I think back to that injury) he has lucked out but I am pleased they are sticking with him over at the NSP! He's a big name for the future is Fergal and the man has an awesome attitude to his game.
I sense he may make a comeback around the same time as Ben Hilfenhaus mid year. My boy Hilfy needs to get out there as soon as possible with the next Test series because he will be our key man for the Ashes. Don't take my word for it but I assure you, we have only seen him in one Test in Aussie and you saw what he did then! Watch out for the Hilfy factor!
Ryan Harris has been given the dream contract. He can now pay off his house and whatever else he has been trying to do. Now he must just keep doing the job for us in the middle. My gut feeling is he will be more of a prospect in the ODI arena as opposed to Test's but either way he has made himself a confident bowler again in grabbing his opportunity and taking it to the limit! So it's a pleasing achievement for a fresh Baggy Green representative. Steven Smith is there to, so expect to see him more in the ODI and T20 formats.
Andrew McDonald was, to be honest, a surprise that he held onto his contract but it fits though. He didn't do anything to really amaze anyone when he played for the Baggy Green, but he did his job with frequent wickets and he played a crucial role for Mitch to get his maiden Test century. He was gutted to not play in the Ashes but for certain reasons they are holding onto his attributes for this season. Let's wait and see what the plan is for the Ginger Ninja who did well for the Bushrangers this season.
I did expect Brad Hodge to lose his contract despite my constant support for the guy over the last 2 years but I realised it wasn't going anywhere.
But Nathan Bracken is a surprise. I was sharing my views on him being ommitted from the T20 side and sure enough he didn't make the cut. Pity because I was sure he'd have been in our plans for the World Cup or atleast offer something for our emerging players with his experience. His record has so much credibility and you cannot forget the excellent job he did for us in the 2007 World Cup followed up by outstanding T20 performances and earning himself the AB ODI player of the year award in 2009. But this is reality and the selectors clearly have other plans.
When one door closes another opens they say. The same applies for opportunity in the cricketing world. It's the nature of the game and that's why it's great to see Bracks attitude towards it. Shows excellent temperament and the blokes character is genuine as he is handling well.
David Warner also lucked out but in all fairness you can't take on a guy just for T20. Then again we could say what about Tait? But Taito is being built up for the ODI's, even though Warner should be too. Remember Taito in the World Cup? He was a demon with the ball, but we'll monitor the paceman. Speaking of pace, Binga holds onto his contract and for understandable reasons. He's a champ, he's done wonders for us and yes, while he may be done with the Baggy Green he is still an ODI and T20 option.
David Hussey also lucked out, probably to Adam Voges who tends to always sneak into the Squad. Dussey wasn't really appearing for our ODI squad and probably fell into the same category as David Warner as just a T20 player for the time being. He has a good chance to make regular appearances though.
Some people seem confused about the contracts. So here's some clarity.
These contracted players are seen as preference players. They get a fixed income with additional income generated through standout performances (like an extra match fee) as well as endorsements on a more marketing based income.
These are the contracted blokes above. Players who didn't make the cut (Bracks, Clark, Pitbull Warner etc) can still play for Aus but just receive a match-fee should they play a match, while staying in their State setup.
So none of these guys are done, but it is harder obviously for guys on in years as opposed to the younger blokes.
So that's why I never read into the contracts too much as a negative thing but instead look at who's been selected and then the next step is to wonder why are they there. What are the NSP's plans for them? Where will their skills be utitlised? Looking at this list I can see each and every blokes purpose for being in this list, with only Andrew McDonald being the guy who I had to really think about but I have briefly stated why he is there.
Share your thoughts on the list. And also don't read into Warner being contracted to play as a T20 specialist for Middlesex. He did the same thing last year with a short county stint in T20 cricket. It's just a way for the bloke to keep the selectors focused on his progress and commitment.