Western Australia embark on mass recruitment drive
Western Australia have embarked on an ambitious recruitment drive after a disappointing 2008-09 season that saw them finish fifth in the Sheffield Shield and Ford Ranger Cup competitions, and a lowly sixth in the Big Bash Twenty20 tournament. The WACA has approached five players from New South Wales, four of whom are fast bowlers, and at least one Queenslander as they look to overhaul their side for next season.
Western Australia's five New South Wales targets - Mark Cameron, Josh Hazlewood, Burt Cockley, Mitchell Starc and Usman Khawaja - are all under contract with the Blues for next season. Hazlewood, an 18-year-old fast bowler from rural New South Wales, is regarded among the top prospects in Australian cricket, and has previously been approached by Western Australia and Queensland. Cameron and Cockley, meanwhile, have been recruited to play in the IPL this year, while Khawaja is rated by many as a batsman of international potential.
Western Australia is also understood to have expressed interest in a Queensland paceman - possibly Grant Sullivan or Ben Cutting - in a bid to bolster their fast bowling ranks. The WACA's recruitment drive comes amid reports of possible tension between the coach, Tom Moody, and several players after a disappointing 2008-09 campaign.
Several states are believed to be interested in Adam Voges and Luke Ronchi, both of whom underwhelmed for the Warriors last season. However, the two have outlined their preference to remain in Perth. Ronchi, who made his one-day and Twenty20 international debut during Australia's 2008 tour of the Caribbean, was dropped from the Western Australia first XI towards the end of last season, while Voges averaged just 22.72 in 10 first-class matches in 2008-09. Voges recently stood down from Australia's one-day tour of South Africa after it conflicted with his wedding plans.
Meanwhile, New South Wales are close to finalising their acquisition of Shane Watson from Queensland. Watson, the Australian allrounder, will move to Sydney to be closer to his partner.
Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo