Chris Rogers and Steve Smith among players handed contracts by Cricket Australia
Last Updated: 31/03/14 7:34am
Australia batsmen Chris Rogers and Steve Smith have been rewarded for their success this winter by being named in the list of centrally contracted players for 2014/15.
Opener Rogers and middle order batsman Smith played key roles in the 5-0 Ashes drubbing over England as well as the 2-1 success over the world's number one ranked Test side South Africa.
Both men registered three centuries in eight Tests and are now firm fixtures in the set-up, having been named in the 18-man list of contracted players.
Each of these four players has shown at various times why they are deserving of a contract and we expect them to continue playing an important role for Australia in one or more of the three formats.
The duo were not in last year's 20-man list but they, along with fellow batting duo Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh, have now been included.
Finch has yet to make his Test bow, but is a regular in the limited-overs teams as an explosive opening batsman, while Marsh, who has been in and out of the side over the years, excelled with the bat in the series victory in South Africa.
"Each of these four players has shown at various times why they are deserving of a contract and we expect them to continue playing an important role for Australia in one or more of the three formats," national selector John Inverarity said.
There are few surprises in the names chosen for the contracts, which cover a 12-month period and will commence on July 1, 2014, following a hugely successful winter.
Perhaps the biggest omission is batsman Alex Doolan, who is Australia's current number three in Tests.
"Alex Doolan was close to receiving a contract and he is highly regarded by the NSP (national selection panel)," Inverarity added.
"He made his Australian debut less than two months ago and we look forward to him building strongly on the promising start he made in the three Test series in South Africa."
Ed Cowan, Patrick Cummins, Xavier Doherty, Ben Hilfenhaus, Clint McKay, Matthew Wade have all featured sporadically, or not at all, over the past 12 months and so have not been retained.
Neither have Usman Khawaja, Adam Voges nor Nathan Coulter-Nile, all of whom received upgraded contracts over the last year.
Inverarity had encouraging words for Coulter-Nile, who has been named in Test squads but has yet to make his debut.
"Nathan Coulter-Nile also came close as he has had some impressive white-ball performances for Australia and was in the Test Squad for much of the Australian summer," he said.
"The NSP would like to see Nathan continue to progress well and have another strong season in 2014-15."
Contracted players: George Bailey, Michael Clarke, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Phillip Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Chris Rogers, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson.