Khawaja, Voges, Burns handed central contracts
SYDNEY: Usman Khawaja, Adam Voges and Joe Burns were among seven new players to be handed central contracts yesterday as Australia rebuild after a series of retirements.
The new players were not on the initial list for the 2016-17 season announced a year ago but they have since forced their way into the selectors’ plans.
Nathan Coulter-Nile, John Hastings, Peter Nevill and Peter Siddle have also been added to the 20-man list as Australia look ahead to the home Ashes series starting in late 2017.
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“There is a lot of talent within this group and we have confidence that the players chosen can be successful in all three forms of the game,” said chief selector Rodney Marsh 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.”
Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson, Chris Rogers and Shane Watson all called it quits for Australia last year.
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Australian media said batsman Khawaja was expected to pocket $770,000 from his new contract after his sparkling form in all three formats.
Burns is reaping the benefits of his ascension to Test opener, which included his man-of-the-match 170 against New Zealand in Christchurch in February.
Voges, 36, has also been among the runs, making 239 in Wellington as his Test average temporarily climbed above the great Don Bradman’s 99.94.