Redbacks look to local youth
South Australia have expanded their list of contracted players to 29, including eight rookies, as they try to turn around their dismal form next season. Despite suggestions the Redbacks had tried to lure Lou Vincent, the New Zealand batsman, there were no recruits from overseas or interstate.
The retirement of Greg Blewett, the departure of Trent Kelly to Western Australia, and the fact South Australia have one more Cricket Australia-contracted player than last year, opened up three places on the senior list. The vacancies were filled by Jason Borgas, Tom Plant and Peter George.
Borgas debuted as an opening batsman last season and impressed with four half-centuries from his five games. Plant, another opening batsman, added two Pura Cup matches to his tally in 2006-07 and has been promoted from the rookie list. George, a fast bowler, was dropped from the rookie list last year but returns with a full contract.
The Redbacks have opted for nine rookies in 2006-07 compared to five last season, with Simon Roberts, Ken Skewes and Chadd Sayers all retaining their positions. Lachlan Oswald-Jacobs did not have his contract renewed. The new rookies are: allrounder Jake Brown, 21; fast bowler Jake Haberfield, 20; batsman Andy Delmont, 21; batsman James Smith, 18, who made his one-day debut last season; and left-arm orthodox spinner Jason Donnelly, 19, who has represented the New Zealand Academy.
Mark Sorell, the new South Australia coach, said the mix of youth and experience appeared right to improve the team's output. "We believe we have the right balance here, and I have a lot of faith in the guys," Sorell said. "I see the senior members of the squad acting as leaders and mentors to some of the younger players, and that's certainly going to help build the culture and confidence of the team."
Squad Nathan Adcock, Cullen Bailey (Cricket Australia contract), Cameron Borgas, Jason Borgas, Ben Cameron, Mark Cleary, Mark Cosgrove, Dan Cullen (CA), Shane Deitz, Matthew Elliott, Callum Ferguson, Peter George, Jason Gillespie (CA), Daniel Harris, Ryan Harris, Darren Lehmann, Graham Manou, Tom Plant, Gary Putland, Paul Rofe, Shaun Tait (CA).
Rookies Jake Brown, Andy Delmont, Jason Donnelly, Jake Haberfield, Simon Roberts, Chadd Sayers, Ken Skewes, James Smith.