New South Wales name new-look squad
The substantial turnover of players at New South Wales has been completed, with seven new faces included in the state's list of contracted players for 2012-13. The Blues were hit hard by retirements and defections after last summer, with Phillip Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Hauritz and Timm van der Gugten all having headed interstate and Simon Katich, Phil Jaques, Beau Casson and Stuart Clark having all retired.
New South Wales have not imported any players to replace the group, instead promoting young men who had been on the fringes of the state side or rewarding strong club performers. Arguably the most exciting prospects among the inclusions are the batsman Kurtis Patterson, 19, who scored 157 on his Sheffield Shield debut last summer, and the fast bowler Josh Lalor, 24, who made a good start to his first-class career last season.
The opening batsmen Tim Cruickshank, 30, and Scott Henry, 23, have been handed deals as the Blues search for a new top-order combination having lost three openers - Hughes, Katich and Jaques. The North Sydney batsman Daniel Hughes has earned his first contract, as has the fast bowler Chris Tremain, 20, who made his debut for the Blues last season.
There was also a contract for the wicketkeeper-batsman David Dawson, 30, who played 23 first-class matches for Tasmania over a five-year period before moving to New South Wales. He played one Sheffield Shield game for the Blues late last summer and impressed the selectors as the leading run scorer in Sydney grade cricket.
The allrounder Sean Abbott was upgraded from a rookie contract to a full deal, while new rookies included Harry Conway and Gurinder Sandhu. The fast bowler Burt Cockley, who was part of Australia's ODI squad in India in 2009 but has not played for New South Wales since November of that year due to injuries, has not been given a contract and is playing grade cricket in Darwin in an effort to revive his career.
David Gilbert, the Cricket New South Wales chief executive, said: "While it will always be a challenge to replace cricketers with Test match experience, the New South Wales SpeedBlitz Blues still have a core group of players who have experienced success in domestic cricket, and many of them have represented Australia in their careers to date.
"There are several new names in our squad this summer, all of whom have been selected due to their impressive performances in both grade and second XI cricket. There are excellent opportunities on offer for the season ahead."
New South Wales squad Sean Abbott, Doug Bollinger, Michael Clarke (Cricket Australia contract), Trent Copeland, Tim Cruickshank, Pat Cummins (CA), David Dawson, Brad Haddin (CA), Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Scott Henry, Daniel Hughes, Josh Lalor, Nic Maddinson, Peter Nevill, Steve O'Keefe, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc (CA), Chris Tremain, Shane Watson (CA), David Warner (CA) Rookies Nic Bills, Luke Doran, Gurinder Sandhu, Harry Conway, Adam Zampa.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here