Australian news May 6, 2010

Allrounder Mark Cleary joins Victoria

Cricinfo staff

The former South Australia allrounder Mark Cleary has signed with Victoria for next season, when they will aim to defend their Sheffield Shield and Big Bash titles. Cleary was the only major addition to the Bushrangers squad, which also includes the promising allrounder Alex Keath.

Nick Jewell was the major omission from the squad after declining a contract to focus on his coaching career at club and under-age levels. However, Jewell has not retired and will continue to play district cricket in Melbourne and be available for selection, having been one of Victoria's most consistent performers over the past few years.

The batsman Lloyd Mash and the rookies Steve Gilmour and Michael Topp were not offered deals, while Aiden Blizzard has already signed with South Australia. The fast bowler Rob Cassell's decision to also head to Adelaide gave a reprieve to the injury-prone Shane Harwood, who at 36 was on the verge of being cut from the squad.

The recruitment of the fast-medium bowler Cleary, who grew up in Mildura in Victoria, is a boost for the Bushrangers' all-round stocks. Cleary, 29, has 50 first-class matches to his name and had a strong summer in 2008-09, when he topped the Redbacks' Sheffield Shield wicket tally with 32 at 31.21.

"We've got a great mix of experienced senior cricketers and talented youngsters that will hold us in good stead throughout the season," the coach Greg Shipperd said. "As we saw last year, depth in the fast-bowling ranks is crucial, so the addition of Mark Cleary certainly helps that. He's a talented swing bowler who can contribute some handy lower-order runs and should fit into our squad well."

Victoria squad Dwayne Bravo, Mark Cleary, Aaron Finch, Shane Harwood, John Hastings, Michael Hill, Brad Hodge, Jon Holland, David Hussey, Alex Keath, Andrew McDonald (Cricket Australia contract), Bryce McGain, Clint McKay (CA), Dirk Nannes, Darren Pattinson, James Pattinson, Rob Quiney, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle (CA), Matthew Wade, Cameron White (CA), Damien Wright.

Rookies Ryan Carters, Jackson Coleman, Brett Forsyth, Glenn Maxwell, Will Sheridan.