New leader Simpson fires his troops
Simpson, who captained in limited-overs competitions last year and took charge in the final first-class match, has told his 20-man squad that there would be no respite in preparing for the next campaign. "It's a great honour and one that I am grateful for the chance to tackle," he said. "But I am well aware that the hard work started at the end of last season and won't be letting up."
There was some immediate good news in that Andy Bichel has taken a big step forward in his recovery from major surgery to his shoulder. On Monday, Bichel bowled 16 balls at Allan Border Field under the supervision of Martin Love, who is assisting with some of his physiotherapy for his rehabilitation. Bichel reported no ill-effects from his return and he will step up his efforts in the next four months as he aims to be fit for the start of next season, in October.
Glen Batticciotto, a recent Peter Burge Medallist and Sandgate-Redcliffe's captain, was offered a deal for the first time, while South Australia's allrounder Ryan Harris will join in June. Batticciotto, who played for Australia Under-19s in 2000 alongside Mitchell Johnson, Shane Watson and Michael Clarke, was the second highest runscorer in grade competition last season with 741 runs at 67.36, and he also took 18 wickets at 20.67.
Queensland, who now have six Australian players contracted with Ashley Noffke's elevation, did not offer deals to batsman Craig Philipson and allrounder Michael Buchanan. Michael Kasprowicz has retired alongside Maher.
Allrounder Lee Carseldine received a full contract for the first time since 2003 following a successful comeback from major back surgery, while Scott Brant and Chris Swan have been promoted to the full side following promising first-team debuts last year. Another fast bowler, Ben Cutting, has graduated from his rookie contract.
The state chose seven rookies this time including Craig McDermott's schoolboy son Alister, who is a fast bowler like his father. Also at school is Beenleigh/Logan batsman Michael Johnson. Both have represented Australia Under-17s and played grade cricket last year. The rookie list also contains left-arm fast bowler Scott Walter and Dom O'Brien, who kept wicket at the Under-19 World Cup.
Queensland's coaching assistant Justin Sternes will be the new Academy coach after standing in last year. Sternes, a Level 3 coach, has worked in a number of coaching roles with John Buchanan, Bennett King and Terry Oliver since joining the state in 1999. He replaces Trevor Barsby, who has been promoted to first-team coach.
Squad Glen Batticciotto, Andy Bichel, Scott Brant, Ryan Broad, Lee Carseldine, Ben Cutting, Daniel Doran, Ryan Harris, Chris Hartley, Nick Kruger, Ben Laughlin, Martin Love, Greg Moller, Aaron Nye, Clinton Perren, Nathan Reardon, Nathan Rimmington, Chris Simpson (capt), Grant Sullivan, Chris Swan.
Import Ryan Harris.
Rookies Cameron Boyce, Michael Johnson, Alister McDermott, Dom O'Brien, Wade Townsend, Scott Walter, Worrin Williams.
Players on the transfer list Craig Philipson, Michael Buchanan.