Australia news June 27, 2012

Lee turns down New South Wales contract

Brett Lee has declined a contract with New South Wales, declaring he wants to leave room on the state's list for a younger player while he aims for an upgrade to a Cricket Australia deal. Lee was not among the 17 men handed national contracts last week, the first time since 1999 that he has failed to win a central contract.

Despite the omission, Lee, 35, remains in Australia's immediate limited-overs plans and is part of the one-day squad about to take on England in a five-match series. On Saturday, he showed his hunger for international cricket has not diminished, seaming the ball at pace to pick up two wickets from the first three deliveries of the ODI against Ireland, a match that was eventually abandoned due to rain.

He has spoken of his desire to keep playing the shorter formats at international level and believes he can be a valuable mentor to Australia's younger fast men, including James Pattinson and Pat Cummins. Although Lee was one of the men to suffer from the central contract list being cut from 25 to 17, the upgrade system means he will be handed a deal if he plays six ODIs during the 2012-13 year, or a suitable combination of one-dayers and Twenty20s.

"I truly appreciate Cricket New South Wales' offer but given the unique position I find myself in under the new contracting model, it makes sense to give this opportunity to a young player," Lee said. "I am still very much focused on earning a Cricket Australia contract over the next two months and will continue to help Cricket New South Wales where I can this season."

Lee, who no longer plays first-class cricket, will play one-day cricket for his state on a match-by-match basis, but his availability could be restricted by his national commitments. As a Twenty20 player, he is likely to remain a valuable member of the Sydney Sixers outfit after helping them to the Big Bash League title last summer.

The state associations are all finalising their contract lists for next season, a process that was unable to begin until last Friday afternoon due to the lengthy delay in Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association signing a new pay deal. The states have each been given extra money and room on their lists to help with the return of men who had previously held Cricket Australia deals.

Lee was not the only New South Wales player who did not have his contract renewed; Steven Smith and Doug Bollinger were also dropped, along with Nathan Hauritz and Phillip Hughes, both of whom have been linked with potential interstate moves. Meanwhile, Cricket Tasmania has confirmed that the batsmen George Bailey and Ed Cowan, who missed out on Australia contracts, have both signed with the Tigers this week on two-year deals.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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  • frank on June 30, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    35,doesn't play first class cricket, and hoping for a future CA contract? Brett's either got a great sense of humour or Austrailian cricket really is hopelessly adrift and disorganized - a shame,as a strong Australian team is good for international cricket.

  • Scott on June 27, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    @koolhassan I completely disagree, T20 is the joke. I quite like the concept of this contract system (aside from the fact that Johnson's on it, but that was unavoidable given his 2 year deal last year). To get a contract, outside players have to perform to get picked consistently, whilst being rewarded most for playing test cricket. Any system that revolves around performance is fine with me

  • John on June 27, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    Seems like sound reasoning. It's hard to imagine that Lee won't play 6 ODIs in the year. Does that 2012-13 period follow the financial year or does it start with the Australian season?

  • Hassaan on June 27, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    hahahahaha!! George Bailey, who is the T20 Captain for Australia, was not given a central contract. Cricket Australia is a joke.

  • Luke on June 27, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    @Abhisek I believe they're talking about Aus contracts in regards to Hughes, Smith etc,.

  • Aswin on June 27, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    bollinger has not been dropped from nsw list, He has been merely dropped from aus list

  • Randolph on June 27, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    In my opinion, we should only have contracts for test players. ODI players should get a state contract and an ODI wage based on whether they play or not!

  • Dummy4 on June 27, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    Abhishek, the article doesn't say Bollinger lost his New Southwales Contract.. Bollinger is a New Southwales player who lost his national contract.

  • Dummy4 on June 27, 2012, 5:26 GMT

    Great move from Lee, but the reason behind dropping Bollinger and Smith are perplexing considering they are such imp players for NSW. sad to know that Hauritz and Hughes are plannind to change states, Hauritz is still understandable but why Hughes. Bollinger was such an imp bowling asset for Aus and CSK over the last few yrs and now he is not even good enough for a state contract!!!!strange are the ways

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