The end for Bevan and Bichel?
Michael Bevan and Andy Bichel have been dropped from Australia's list of centrally contracted players for 2004-05. The announcement all but ends their international careers, although Cricket Australia has pointed out that uncontracted players would still be considered for selection.
"Michael Bevan has been a wonderful player for Australia over many years, particularly in the one-day arena," said Trevor Hohns, the chairman of selectors. "However, it was felt that [his] contribution to the one-day side has decreased. We won't be picking him for the upcoming tour of Zimbabwe, and therefore we consider it's time to move on. We're looking to the future now ... it's time we started to form a core group of players that we think will represent Australia at the next World Cup.
"Andy Bichel has played a vital role in our sides over recent times," Hohns continued. "However, it is fair to say we showed our hand during the summer when he was omitted from various teams in both forms of the game. With the fast bowlers currently representing Australia and the emerging fast-bowling talent around the country, we couldn't find a place for Andy on the list."
Brad Hodge and Shaun Tait were offered contracts for the first time, and Michael Hussey stayed on the list for the third year. Matthew Elliott was brought back into the fold after a prolific season for Victoria, the Pura Cup champions, while Michael Kasprowicz and Simon Katich were upgraded to full-year contracts.
Hohns said weight of runs was the factor that led to Elliott's recall. "The amount of runs Matthew has scored over the last couple of years we found irresistible," he explained. "He just demanded inclusion in this list, as did Brad Hodge."
Nathan Bracken, Ashley Noffke and Nathan Hauritz were also dropped from last year's list, while Steve Waugh retired in January.
Contracted players receive a basic retainer fee, besides match fees, tour fees and prize money. The minimum retainer is $140,000, and match fees are $12,100 for Tests and $4850 for one-dayers.
Michael Clarke, Matthew Elliott, Adam Gilchrist, Jason Gillespie, Ian Harvey, Matthew Hayden, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Michael Hussey, Michael Kasprowicz, Simon Katich, Justin Langer, Darren Lehmann, Martin Love, Stuart MacGill, Jimmy Maher, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, Ricky Ponting, Andrew Symonds, Shaun Tait, Shane Warne, Shane Watson, Brad Williams.