Noffke considers leaving Queensland
The Queensland allrounder Ashley Noffke will consider switching to Western Australia after being told he is not part of the Bulls' Twenty20 plans despite making his international debut for Australia in the format two seasons ago. Queensland have also confirmed Noffke would not initially be part of the one-day side in 2009-10.
Currently with Worcestershire on a county deal, Noffke is now seen as a four-day specialist in Queensland following an injury-interrupted home summer. After winning the Ian Healy Trophy as the state's player of the year in 2007-08 for his effective fast bowling and impressive batting, his injuries limited him to five first-class games and four FR Cup appearances. He missed the entire Twenty20 campaign when a young Queensland line-up reached the preliminary final of the lucrative competition.
"I was stunned and still am," Noffke said. "I did miss a major part of our last summer with a hip injury but as soon as the problem was finally diagnosed and I underwent surgery I was back playing English county cricket within seven weeks."
The decision comes less than a month after Noffke lost his Cricket Australia contract. Western Australia are believed to be on the verge of formalising an offer to Noffke while there is also some interest from Worcestershire.
In six Twenty20 games with the county he has taken nine wickets at 18.33 to lead the list and has also collected 91 runs at a strike-rate of 165.45. He has been productive in the one-day formats, but captured only one victim in the opening two county games.
"My recent results show I'm really getting back to top form and I feel I still have plenty to offer in all forms of the game for at least another two or three seasons," Noffke said. "As a proud senior player for the Bulls, I feel really let down and will definitely be looking at what options I may have elsewhere."
Unlike national contracts, state players can negotiate their own deals before the list is finalised. However, Queensland's juggling became even harder over the past week when Andrew Symonds was cut by Australia, leaving the state to reorganise its roster to cope with the international player's pay demands if he does not retire.
Graham Dixon, Queensland Cricket's chief executive officer, said the state's offer to Noffke was fair. "The contract offer we have made is for one year and if accepted, it would be the highest contract offer he has received from us during his long career," Dixon said. "Our long standing policy is to provide one-year contracts to senior players, and that is all that Andy Bichel or Michael Kasprowicz or Martin Love had in the latter stages of their careers."
Noffke was picked by Australia for two Twenty20s and a one-day international two years ago before going on the Test tour of the West Indies. Queensland have lost Mitchell Johnson and Shane Watson over the past two seasons, with the men heading to Western Australia and New South Wales to be with their partners.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo