Cricket Australia contracts 2013-14 April 3, 2013

Test players deserve CA contract security

In its current form, Australia's list of central contracts will only push young players away from Tests and towards T20 as the source of their security
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On the occasion of the 2000th Test match, between England and India at Lord's in 2011, Australia's captain Michael Clarke spoke bluntly about how the five-day game could best be preserved. "Governing bodies must prioritise player performance and payment in Test cricket," he said. "The future of Test cricket relies on the investment in continuing to make it the pinnacle of the sport. It requires all the skills of the other two forms of the game, but over five days."

A little less than two years on from Clarke's apt summary, the release of Cricket Australia's list of centrally contracted players reflects the fact that in a world tilting increasingly towards T20, the incentive for a young player to press with conviction for a Test career remains pitifully weak. Not only is there more money to be found in the T20 pot of gold, there is apparently more security to be gained from CA by being a fringe ODI and T20 player instead of being a genuine contender for the Test side.

Over a 12-month period that will feature not only ten Ashes Tests across back-to-back series in England and Australia, but also a Test assignment in South Africa, the players granted the financial security of an upfront contract include Glenn Maxwell, Xavier Doherty, Clint McKay, George Bailey and Brad Haddin. All are likely to figure for the national team over the next year, but they are as likely to hold the fate of the Ashes in their hands as India are to accept the DRS.

By contrast, Jackson Bird, Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith were missing despite making staunch efforts to establish themselves as Test performers. Last year, Ed Cowan was similarly ignored, while David Hussey won what was surely the last of numerous CA deals over the past decade without once playing a Test. In Maxwell's case, his contract provides the cream on top of an IPL cake that has reaped $1 million for what can only be described as potential.

Doherty, McKay, Bailey and Haddin all have decent claims to a central contract, but are theirs stronger than those of Bird, Khawaja and Smith? It would be exceedingly difficult to argue in the affirmative. In India, Doherty was found wanting as a Test bowler for the second and likely last time, while McKay and Bailey's chances of graduating from their current status as short-format operators were cruelled over the summer by injury and muddled form respectively.

Provided they keep their ODI and T20 places, McKay and Bailey will be on the cusp of an upgrade as early as the Champions Trophy in June anyway. Haddin, meanwhile, is steeped as deeply in the traditions of Australian cricket as anybody on the list, now that Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey have gone, and as such he is likely to be a priceless Ashes asset. But it is doubtful he would have complained about earning a contract, just as he earned his international recalls over summer.

The scope for upgrades provides the most sound logic for not awarding deals to the likes of Khawaja and Smith. There is little doubt that under Australian cricket's current state of batting struggle, the selectors are in no hurry to reward mediocrity, nor to hand out contracts to the sort of speculative names that used to fill out the final six or so spots on the old 25-man list before it was cut back to 17-20 under the current MOU. Batsmen are also more likely to earn their spots given they are less likely to be rotated out if performing: a contract upfront is a fairer result for a bowler playing three of five Ashes Tests than a batsman fit for the whole series.

Yet the most important element of the contract list is not its number, nor its ranking of players, as much as sections of the media like to debate the "winners and losers". Rather it is all in the timing. A player who knows he is CA-contracted in April has the financial security behind him to plan his year, so he has the best chance of performing when the national call-up does come. A contract should provide the remunerative encouragement to spend as much time as necessary preparing for the five-day game, while ignoring the excesses of domestic T20 japes as much as possible. Loyalty to loyalty.

In some cases, this has already happened. Apart from Clarke, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc provide the best examples of players responding intelligently to a secure place in the national set-up by preparing as judiciously as possible for international duty. Siddle is perhaps the world's highest profile player not signed to any T20 team whatsoever, while Starc gave up the chance of a pay-day likely to have been as inflated as Maxwell's by keeping himself out of the IPL auction, safe in the knowledge that CA would reward him.

A player who knows he is CA-contracted in April has the financial security behind him to plan his year so he has the best chance of performing when the national call-up does come.

Pat Cummins' case is also worth noting. Plenty have already sneered at his retention of a contract despite having gone through his second consecutive home summer without bowling a single ball. However, his place in CA's plans for the future has been subjected to some thinking in recent times; Pat Howard, John Inverarity and others realise he may be damaged irreparably if pushed too soon. Cummins' contract means CA can manage his return from injury and the evolution of his bowling action, while also working at ensuring that when he does go to the IPL it will be after a career as fruitful as Brett Lee's, not brief as Shaun Tait's.

Nevertheless, Starc, Siddle, Clarke and Cummins are minority cases in an area in which CA have an ability to prove their desire to return Australia's Test team to No. 1 in the world. Without a central contract, Khawaja, Smith and Bird are freer to take any number of the many pathways down which a cricketer might travel to secure an income. The foundation of the Caribbean Premier League now means there are T20 competitions sprouting in every one of the ICC's Full Member countries, all harbouring club impresarios eager to recruit international talent.

Whatever be the reasons for splashing money around on players as experienced as Ponting or as unfinished as Maxwell, it can be guaranteed that the betterment of Australia's Test team, and the return of the Ashes, are not among them. So it is essential that CA work further with the Australian Cricketers Association to ensure that a central contract provides the clearest possible incentive for players to become not ODI battlers or T20 scramblers but Test performers. Clarke himself would hope for nothing less.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on April 4, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    The following are points may be considered by CA:

    1) Every cricketer has a shelf life. This has actually reduced for the average cricketer the world over with the mix of the three formats .

    2) A contract which rewards the Test player needs to be put into place.

    3) Players like Usman, Steve Simith and Bird should be encouraged if not more and more budding cricketers will fall prey to T20's and die a quicker death.

    4) Rare players like the retired Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and such talent should be specially protected and given Blue Contracts with emphasis on their Royal Status.

    5) CA should be run by professional ex cricketers for a slated fixed period and they should either be rewarded for good performances by their work done OR be sacked just as Australian Test stars are unceremoniusly ousted from the test team.

  • HowdyRowdy on April 4, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    CA need to come out and clarify how contracts are weighted across the three formats, Test, ODI and T20.

    Is there a weighting of contracts towards Test cricket, compared with the shorter forms? If not, why not?

    CA could inform the supporters, who are cricket's lifeblood, about precisely how the three formats are taken into account. At least then we could have an educated debate about the merits of contracted players. At the moment, we have to second guess CA's thinking.

    If you were unkind, you could suggest that CA prefers to hide its weighting of the various formats, as this makes it harder to enforce accountability for CA's contract decisions.

  • Amith_S on April 3, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    I am all for rewarding players on performances but some folks have been selected who didn't perform in India and should have been dropped. Someone like Cummins was picked on potential and Khawaja should have been in the same boat given he was never given a test match to prove his worth. His situation is just bewildering, regardless of which side of the fence you sit on. On one hand he keeps getting picked to be in squads and touring parties, and often get talked up by the selectors, who use phrases like "very much in our thinking", etc.On the other, he never gets selected to actually play any games and now isn't even given a contract.Lets just get him in for the ashes and he will do us proud. And a few folks have critised Faulkner. Faulkner has a Shield bowling average of 22 - just because one is skilled at T20 doesn't mean they aren't capable in the other formats.

  • hycIass on April 6, 2013, 12:01 GMT

    Is the real problem the contract system? I was thinking about this from another angle and if players can force their way into a team from outside the contract fold, why have the contract system? Pay for play. Could the money on offer be affecting performance in a similar way to NRL/AFL players losing form after signing long term contracts? Interesting questions to think about, but regardless the more i think about this the more i think that guys such as Khawaja shouldn't worry about this too much as they will get a contract upgrade through good performances in the coming year, the key is for him to get a chance so he can show his stuff which he hasn't been given this season. Bird despite the fact that he should have got a contract did get test matches this season and did very well in them.

  • crickethistory on April 5, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    Well written article by Mr Brettig!

    Regardless of what the T20 and IPL lovers think, Test cricket is the pinnacle of this great sport.

    In my opinion both Bird and Khawaja deserved CA contracts.

  • Trufflehund on April 5, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    Jackson Bird. Two tests. One man of the match. 11 wickets. Less than 20 average with ball. First class bowling average less than 17. Why no contract? More proof these people who select have to go. BTW. Test cricket is favourite for me but I have not watched a T20 or 50 over match for so long it is ridiculous. Picking Test teams on form from these forms of the game has never been a reliable way to get a good test team on the park. Set up cricket like rugby, with people who play sevens and people who play the longer form. As for Australian first class cricket - set up a joint provincial competition with three sides from NZ, eight from Australia (NSW and Victoria Country) and explore possibility of playing these games at venues outside the main cities where crowds will actually attend; such as Ballarat, Bendigo, Newcastle, Woolongong, Mount Gambier, Dubbo, Orange, Albury - you get the idea!

  • on April 5, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    @ Ken McCarron .... why would anyone not support Khawaja.

    As for why there are so few Queenslanders, I think it is a valid question. Especially when you reckon that "other states wouldn't stand a chance in the various forms of the game if all the NSW guys played every match."

    Queensland flogged a full strength NSW Team back in November 2012.

  • hyclass on April 5, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    I have maintained that since no later than 2008, CA put plans in place to install T20 as the main format & decrease the appeal of traditional cricket. After years of baffling selections and non-selections that were as arbitrary as they were destructive, the great residual wealth of playing experience in guys such as Rogers, Katich, Hodge and David Hussey have finally admitted defeat and mostly moved on. Decades of supreme success between them were ignored or dismissed on a whim. It left the lesser ranks to wonder by what measure they would make the Test team. Finally Hayden, while a CA Board member said publicly, what the wealth of available evidence proclaimed,'That they had no investment in traditional cricket.' Not satisfied with a passive role, they changed the use of all the successful institutions and 2nd eleven diluting their effectiveness, then publicly undermined curators, Test & local support and the Shield to the point of not attending the final. This is who CA really are.

  • Experienceisoverrated on April 5, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    People should just accept that Test cricket is dead instead of trying to convince themselves and others otherwise by just repeating over and over "Test is the best". People don't have the patience to sit around for 5 days watching endless well lefts and forward defensive strokes for a "thrilling" draw. Just end it already.

  • Mary_786 on April 5, 2013, 0:30 GMT

    AmithS i don't think anyone denies he has a good attitude and great temparement for test cricket, i am sure we won't be having this discussion in a year as Khawaja will be a key batsman for us in the ashes.The problem at the moment is the scent of fear in the air. Personally I enjoyed the days of Captain Grumpy, Swervin' Mervin and the 5ft Tasmanian with the flare pants. You never knew if we were going to grab the game by the short and curlies or if we were heading for a hiding. We seem to be back to those days though with a fan base with expectations which are more closely aligned with the lofy heights of Warne, Waugh and Ponting.

  • on April 4, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    The following are points may be considered by CA:

    1) Every cricketer has a shelf life. This has actually reduced for the average cricketer the world over with the mix of the three formats .

    2) A contract which rewards the Test player needs to be put into place.

    3) Players like Usman, Steve Simith and Bird should be encouraged if not more and more budding cricketers will fall prey to T20's and die a quicker death.

    4) Rare players like the retired Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and such talent should be specially protected and given Blue Contracts with emphasis on their Royal Status.

    5) CA should be run by professional ex cricketers for a slated fixed period and they should either be rewarded for good performances by their work done OR be sacked just as Australian Test stars are unceremoniusly ousted from the test team.

  • HowdyRowdy on April 4, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    CA need to come out and clarify how contracts are weighted across the three formats, Test, ODI and T20.

    Is there a weighting of contracts towards Test cricket, compared with the shorter forms? If not, why not?

    CA could inform the supporters, who are cricket's lifeblood, about precisely how the three formats are taken into account. At least then we could have an educated debate about the merits of contracted players. At the moment, we have to second guess CA's thinking.

    If you were unkind, you could suggest that CA prefers to hide its weighting of the various formats, as this makes it harder to enforce accountability for CA's contract decisions.

  • Amith_S on April 3, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    I am all for rewarding players on performances but some folks have been selected who didn't perform in India and should have been dropped. Someone like Cummins was picked on potential and Khawaja should have been in the same boat given he was never given a test match to prove his worth. His situation is just bewildering, regardless of which side of the fence you sit on. On one hand he keeps getting picked to be in squads and touring parties, and often get talked up by the selectors, who use phrases like "very much in our thinking", etc.On the other, he never gets selected to actually play any games and now isn't even given a contract.Lets just get him in for the ashes and he will do us proud. And a few folks have critised Faulkner. Faulkner has a Shield bowling average of 22 - just because one is skilled at T20 doesn't mean they aren't capable in the other formats.

  • hycIass on April 6, 2013, 12:01 GMT

    Is the real problem the contract system? I was thinking about this from another angle and if players can force their way into a team from outside the contract fold, why have the contract system? Pay for play. Could the money on offer be affecting performance in a similar way to NRL/AFL players losing form after signing long term contracts? Interesting questions to think about, but regardless the more i think about this the more i think that guys such as Khawaja shouldn't worry about this too much as they will get a contract upgrade through good performances in the coming year, the key is for him to get a chance so he can show his stuff which he hasn't been given this season. Bird despite the fact that he should have got a contract did get test matches this season and did very well in them.

  • crickethistory on April 5, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    Well written article by Mr Brettig!

    Regardless of what the T20 and IPL lovers think, Test cricket is the pinnacle of this great sport.

    In my opinion both Bird and Khawaja deserved CA contracts.

  • Trufflehund on April 5, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    Jackson Bird. Two tests. One man of the match. 11 wickets. Less than 20 average with ball. First class bowling average less than 17. Why no contract? More proof these people who select have to go. BTW. Test cricket is favourite for me but I have not watched a T20 or 50 over match for so long it is ridiculous. Picking Test teams on form from these forms of the game has never been a reliable way to get a good test team on the park. Set up cricket like rugby, with people who play sevens and people who play the longer form. As for Australian first class cricket - set up a joint provincial competition with three sides from NZ, eight from Australia (NSW and Victoria Country) and explore possibility of playing these games at venues outside the main cities where crowds will actually attend; such as Ballarat, Bendigo, Newcastle, Woolongong, Mount Gambier, Dubbo, Orange, Albury - you get the idea!

  • on April 5, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    @ Ken McCarron .... why would anyone not support Khawaja.

    As for why there are so few Queenslanders, I think it is a valid question. Especially when you reckon that "other states wouldn't stand a chance in the various forms of the game if all the NSW guys played every match."

    Queensland flogged a full strength NSW Team back in November 2012.

  • hyclass on April 5, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    I have maintained that since no later than 2008, CA put plans in place to install T20 as the main format & decrease the appeal of traditional cricket. After years of baffling selections and non-selections that were as arbitrary as they were destructive, the great residual wealth of playing experience in guys such as Rogers, Katich, Hodge and David Hussey have finally admitted defeat and mostly moved on. Decades of supreme success between them were ignored or dismissed on a whim. It left the lesser ranks to wonder by what measure they would make the Test team. Finally Hayden, while a CA Board member said publicly, what the wealth of available evidence proclaimed,'That they had no investment in traditional cricket.' Not satisfied with a passive role, they changed the use of all the successful institutions and 2nd eleven diluting their effectiveness, then publicly undermined curators, Test & local support and the Shield to the point of not attending the final. This is who CA really are.

  • Experienceisoverrated on April 5, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    People should just accept that Test cricket is dead instead of trying to convince themselves and others otherwise by just repeating over and over "Test is the best". People don't have the patience to sit around for 5 days watching endless well lefts and forward defensive strokes for a "thrilling" draw. Just end it already.

  • Mary_786 on April 5, 2013, 0:30 GMT

    AmithS i don't think anyone denies he has a good attitude and great temparement for test cricket, i am sure we won't be having this discussion in a year as Khawaja will be a key batsman for us in the ashes.The problem at the moment is the scent of fear in the air. Personally I enjoyed the days of Captain Grumpy, Swervin' Mervin and the 5ft Tasmanian with the flare pants. You never knew if we were going to grab the game by the short and curlies or if we were heading for a hiding. We seem to be back to those days though with a fan base with expectations which are more closely aligned with the lofy heights of Warne, Waugh and Ponting.

  • Timmuh on April 4, 2013, 23:51 GMT

    I agree that T20 should not play a part in central contracts. And that of the two other formats, weighting should be given to Test value but first choice 50 over players have a place on the contract list as well. T20 specialists can earn big money without a central contract, and if they get injured who really gives a toss. It might hurt the national T20 team, but again, who cares about T20 results.

    This isn't so much a problem of the selectors, though, as it is of the rules they are told to operate under. Giving Cummins a contract so that CA can manage him more directly and pull him from T20 whenever necessary is a good move. While I don't think he has earned a contract, his comeback from injury could be severely hampered if he was open slather to play anywhere and everywhere. (That said, CA's own player management seems more dangerous in terms of injury than the average warzone.)

  • Meety on April 4, 2013, 23:31 GMT

    @Jo Britto - some good points. I actually don't think shelf lives reduced for average cricketers. There is a living to be earned on the lessor 20/20 Leagues in SL, Bang, Zim & WI (even NZ). Maybe you meant as FC cricketers? I think you'll find that there are "Blue" contracts, it's just that they are not flashed about, but it is not directly aligned to Tests, but all forms, so that would be a good adjustement. I 101% agree with you on point #5. Sutherland lost me a couple of years ago when in response to Clarke having a late dinner during a Test match (no alcohol involved), he said that cricketers shuld be behave professionally like the FOOTBALL CODES! What planet has HE been living on? Then there has been dribble after dribble - he has to go! Said before - absolute command of Ozzy cricket should go to the Great Man in Beige! ALL decisions should be run by Sir Richie, from what Lunch the cricketers get fed, to scheduling tours. If it gets an OK from RB, it's alright by me!!!!

  • ThatsJustCricket on April 4, 2013, 22:50 GMT

    @JAH123 on (April 4, 2013, 3:17 GMT) : thats a great idea and might just be the solution to this mess. Also, I guess the NSP's obsession of finding batters who can play equally well across all three formats is making it worse.

  • on April 4, 2013, 17:04 GMT

    If you ignore test cricket, and test players, you will eventually destroy cricket completely.

    For all those "fans" you have gained with T20, if test cricket is ruined and eventually dies, you will lose those people who have always watched cricket because it is cricket, not baseball.

    Eventually the fickle fans who come for the flash dash and glits and glamour of T20 and dont love or even understand cricket as a sport, will eventually get bored and fade away, leaving you without both forms of fans.

    T20 is a joke. Watch baseball if you want a 3 hour game of swing and miss. It should bot be an international format.

  • Clyde on April 4, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    Daniel has written us a very nice and hard-working article. The administrators are being allowed to present us with a bunch who can sing overtures but not whole operas. If sport is a symbol, the country is not looking too good. The chances of Cummins's or anyone else's being coached to Test standard are remote. The notion that this can be achieved is a red herring. The impresarios of cricket will just have to wait, receive their salaries, and pray, until talent, and especially talent with endurance and durability, comes along.

  • Chris_Howard on April 4, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    The ARgus Report also said to make Test cricket number 1 priority. Rewarding short form players with contracts, and ignoring Test specialists is a slap in the face to the Argus Report.

    CA, we know you don't have the heart for Test cricket anymore, so please put us out of our misery and dump Test cricket altogether.

  • Amith_S on April 4, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    Flemingmitch I also echo your comments, Khawaja has great attitude for the bulls and one variety said yesterday that Khawaja worked very hard in India so folks saying something else have other agendas. I am disappointed to hear that pats is injured again but as long as he and starc recover before ashes I will be happy as we need them both firing

  • Selassie-I on April 4, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    this is simply why the Australia test side is so poor at the moment, beacuse they are picking on T20 form and achievements, like getting an IPL contract - almost at the first opportunity after Glen Maxwell given an IPL contract he was given a baggy green cap.

    Look at the top order, with the exclusion of Cowan, they can hit an entertaining 40 or 60 on their day but they simply don't have the temprement to go on and make a match winning, or saving, 'daddy' hundred - they're not test standard players.

  • vj_gooner on April 4, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    Two names - Dohery & Maxwell - That sums it all up. How did they even get close to getting a central contract?

    And Hussey Jr has been denied one, why? They barely gave him chances.

  • on April 4, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    I was quite frankly surprised by the omission of Steve Smith and Jackson Bird.Not so much by the snubbing of Usman.Steve Smith was clearly a silver lining in an otherwise very gloomy,dark cloud that accompanied the Aussies on their recent tour to India.He is not a player who is all easy and elegant on the eyes,but with his shot selection and confident foot-work did a lot more than the rest of the batters.Jackson Bird was impressive in Australia against the visiting Lankans.Surely if CA watched their performances they would have seen truck-loads of potential,but the contracts didn't come,SOMEHOW.That Doherty,Haddin,and Maxwell get it while the afore mentioned duo don't is definitely injustice to test cricket performances,and not a very wise decision in terms of incentive for the up and coming to see themselves in a test cricketer's role.CA might not need to ponder their financial future as much,but cricket players need to and if its t20 that pays their bills,that's where they will be.

  • Meety on April 4, 2013, 5:37 GMT

    @JAH123 on (April 4, 2013, 3:17 GMT) - that has merit, not sure if I would want to make it too complicated (3 sets of criteria), but I have wanted to have a sub-quotas in the overall contract list. Now that it seems that 20 is the number, I think there should be 15 Test contracts, 3 Short Form contracts & 2 Rookie/Speculative contracts. I hated how Cummins got his first contract at the expense of Katich. If however, there had been a Rookie contract for him, it would not of been at the direct expense of veteren (regardless of whether that said veteren would of been ditched by the NSP or not). I am happy that Bailey has a contract - he is the 20/20 captain & should be prioritised, so he can/could of been fitted within the Short Form quota. Similar goes with McKay. All that CA, would have to do then, is get the criteria right for selecting Test players in the 15. Criteria could be: 1. Liklihood to play 6 or more Test pa, 2. Outstanding Shield Form, 3. Proven record etc.

  • Meety on April 4, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    You could take the approach that 18 out of the 20 players contracted have actually played Test cricket, of those that haven't - Bailey has been close, & Faulkner is a probable at some point in the future. So whilst I believe in the sentiment Brettig has put forward, I think that the contract situation may not be as detrimental to Test cricket as made out. It really is hard to work the rationale out though, of what CA is doing with these contracts. I think that there should be some performance based slots in the 20 contracts, by that I mean that the leading runscorer & wicket taker should in the Shield should get a contract (obviously not including ineligible players like Punter & Botha). So, under that scenario two contracts would go to Cosgrove & "Leo" Sayers. I don't think anybody would argue with Sayers getting a contract, but there may be some dissention regarding Cosgrove due to his "shape". That said, Cossie has a fine FC record - why not have another look?

  • zenboomerang on April 4, 2013, 3:54 GMT

    A point of note is that we had a central contracts system that blew out to 30 players at one stage with some players never being serious Test candidates - so we had a group of players enjoying a large salary but under-achieving & even taking it too easy while enjoying the high life instead of knuckling down to improve their games... Thats partly what Argus wanted changed - pay those who are giving their all, both a chance at higher honors & also giving them contracts when they show that commitment over time...

  • JAH123 on April 4, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    The problem is that the contract system is based on an archaic model. It no longer makes sense to compare short-format specialists with potential test players. Award test, ODI and T20 contracts separately and then a player like Warner (who plays all formats) would have three separate contracts, each independent of the others and distinct to performance in the relevant format. Pay would be spread across the contracts proportionally, although test contracts should get a bigger slice of the pie as an incentive to develop quality test cricketers. There could be anywhere from 10-15 contracts in each category, depending on the extent CA want to go. Not only does this model reward players regardless of their best format(s), it also paves a pathway for Australia to develop successful teams without sacrificing any one format. And it stops this rubbish of considering players for tests based on limited overs performances.

  • KhanMitch on April 4, 2013, 3:07 GMT

    Ken i agree with the comments on Khawaja, he deserves his chance and will seize on it in the ashes. Lehman and Hohns said Khawaja's work ethic is very strong for the bulls and i think i will take their word over yours on his work ethic. We need to stop finding excuses why not to include this kid and get him in. And though i can sympathise with the Queenslander supporters, they may want to cast their mind back and recall all us whinging Victorians when we were dominating a couple of years back. The thing is a good coaching setup & a well balanced, cohesive team will get you the silverware. Or at least in the Vic's case, the opportunity to lose it What I'm getting at is that Boof has put together a winning team without superstars. The lack of contracts doesn't mean that much at this stage

  • Paul_Rampley on April 4, 2013, 1:16 GMT

    @Mitty couldn't agree with you more, Khawaja's treatment hasn't been good but i like to also focus on Inevarity's positive comments about Khawaja being firmly in contention for not only the ashes squad but also the first test itself. I think he will come through for us in what is the biggest clash of the year. @JohnVerdal i like what i see in your squad.

  • heathrf1974 on April 3, 2013, 23:18 GMT

    I agree 100%, Test cricket is the real cricket. It's irrelevant if Australia are ranked 9 in both ODI and T20 if we are no 1 in test cricket, then that's all that matters. Besides players who play in the IPL shouldn't need lucritive contracts they would have contracts in the IPL that would surpass it. I can't believe Steve Smith and Jackson Bird have been left out.

  • on April 3, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    I wish people would get off the Khawaja band wagon. Put simply, he is lazy and doesn't apply himself to team standards. As for those wondering why there are so few Queenslanders, with the exception of possibly Tasmania, the other states wouldn't stand a chance in the various forms of the game if all the NSW and Victorian guys played every match. Sad to say that about Queensland and WA who were quite strong a decade ago but have lost their way in terms of stand out players - Ashton Agar, Mitch Marsh, Ben Cutting and Joe Burns being the exceptions.

  • NotU on April 3, 2013, 21:03 GMT

    Hmm so Brisbane won the big bash, Qld made the shield final, and won the Ryobi Cup, obviously under Argus that would deserve reward right? What do they get? 1 contract. I must have missed the part in the Argus report about picking Vic and N.S.W. players almost exclusively.

  • on April 3, 2013, 20:39 GMT

    england sqaud is not that good as people are saying. england rely too heavily on cook, trott and prior in batting. swann and anderson are key as bowlers. kp hasnt been at his best, bell is too inconsistent, compton, root and bairstow are very young. broad and finn are still not match winners while bresnan and tremlett have fitness concerns. australia can win ashes with their fast bowling pattinson, siddle, harris, starc, bird. johnson, cummins, sayers and faulkner can match england seam bowling. australia need their batsmen to fire.

  • on April 3, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    my contract list players: 1.clarke 2.siddle 3.pattinson 4.paine 5.lyon 6.watson 7.starc 8.bird 9.warner 10.khawaja 11.smith 12.burns 13.silk 14.agar 15.faulkner 16.m.masrh 17.mckay 18.cummins 19.harris 20.hughes 21.haddin

  • on April 3, 2013, 18:56 GMT

    You cannot just talk up test cricket, and then all the actions suggest otherwise. Actions have to back the words, otherwise "test cricket is the pinnacle" and other quotes echoing similar beliefs is nothing but rhetoric.

  • cricket-freak on April 3, 2013, 17:30 GMT

    Such a well-written article!and the line of thoughts regarding the future and past of CA and its players is so clear.True that T20 leagues are just increasing commercialism in cricket and nothing else....And T20 performers and furious bowlers are preferred over consistent and patient test players...Everyone is being attracted towards the direction of these lush T20 leagues,while only few like Clarke and Starc know how to resist it..

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on April 3, 2013, 17:18 GMT

    regarding the comments on ussie today. it sounds awfully familiar, but I think they will come up with an excuse not to pick him closer to the ashes

  • Mitty2 on April 3, 2013, 14:04 GMT

    I'll be one to conform to the inevitable khawaja comments, and although I doubt what I say won't be covered by others, it still needs to be said. His treatment has been, shall I say, pathetic and horrific at the least. As a point of comparison to england's new test players Compton and root having FC averages of 44 and 37 respectively, it gives me some solace to see that their youngsters averages aren't all that impressive, and with Hughes, khawaja and burns all sharing averages above 42, I don't think our cupboard is THAT 'bare'... (bairstow's and taylor's averages are thouroughly inflated because of the amount of second tier games they've played.) But still, our batting stocks are obviously low so we need to give as much persistence and instill as much confidence into the young batters as possible. Unfortunately, CA has virtually cut off khawaja as a future batting gun with his terrible treatment and multiple confidence blows. Consequently, the onus lies on Hughes to become great.....

  • on April 3, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    As I see it, the lucrative t20 business is attracting its fair share of talent. There is no need for the unions to reward that market further. Their job is to boost the income of test cricketers to attract more entrants into this game.

  • venkatesh018 on April 3, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    Excellent article, Daniel. It is time for ACB and other boards to put the money where the mouth is ! Or at least stop sermonising about how you hold Test cricket dear. Reward the Test specialists like Bird with a decent contract.

  • blink182alex on April 3, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    I agree with the article. I take it we have a different system to some of the other countries who have a tier system where tier 1 is the main players that play tests and odi's e.g. KP, Bell, Anderson, Cook, Trott. Then tier 2 for guys like Morgan, Bresnan, Compton and tier 3 for Butler, Patel, Bairstow.

    We need to priortise test cricket within the contract payments. Reward the test players so that becomes the focus for domestic cricket. To many guys getting a ride in Australia in all forms just because of a bit of 'X-Factor' in T20 cricket. Whenever there negative story within Australia, Maxwell's name always comes up.

  • Sunil_Batra on April 3, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    Amith i completely agree with you on both points. Khawaja deserves his chance and i am confident the ashes will be his calling. There were some positive comments from Inevarity on him today which is great to see. Also good to see Faulkner come through, he did well in the shield final with both bat and ball along with Harris who was also rewarded. Harris for me will be the pick of our bowlers in July if he can stay fit. The big question mark for me which fast bowlers we pick for the ashes, we have about 8 to pick from and will take 6. Pattinson, Siddle, Harris, Starc, Johnson, Bird, Hilfe and Cummins, Sayers will be in contention, its a good problem to have.

  • Barnesy4444 on April 3, 2013, 11:50 GMT

    That's exactly what I was thinking.

    Give test hopefuls a contract to encourage then to focus on test cricket and abandon IPL. IPL players don't need security like this, they can simply flit around the world playing t20 the whole time.

    If we get walloped in the Ashes again the whole country's head will drop. But who even knows which Aussies are playing IPL? I don't.

  • Barnesy4444 on April 3, 2013, 11:50 GMT

    That's exactly what I was thinking.

    Give test hopefuls a contract to encourage then to focus on test cricket and abandon IPL. IPL players don't need security like this, they can simply flit around the world playing t20 the whole time.

    If we get walloped in the Ashes again the whole country's head will drop. But who even knows which Aussies are playing IPL? I don't.

  • Sunil_Batra on April 3, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    Amith i completely agree with you on both points. Khawaja deserves his chance and i am confident the ashes will be his calling. There were some positive comments from Inevarity on him today which is great to see. Also good to see Faulkner come through, he did well in the shield final with both bat and ball along with Harris who was also rewarded. Harris for me will be the pick of our bowlers in July if he can stay fit. The big question mark for me which fast bowlers we pick for the ashes, we have about 8 to pick from and will take 6. Pattinson, Siddle, Harris, Starc, Johnson, Bird, Hilfe and Cummins, Sayers will be in contention, its a good problem to have.

  • blink182alex on April 3, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    I agree with the article. I take it we have a different system to some of the other countries who have a tier system where tier 1 is the main players that play tests and odi's e.g. KP, Bell, Anderson, Cook, Trott. Then tier 2 for guys like Morgan, Bresnan, Compton and tier 3 for Butler, Patel, Bairstow.

    We need to priortise test cricket within the contract payments. Reward the test players so that becomes the focus for domestic cricket. To many guys getting a ride in Australia in all forms just because of a bit of 'X-Factor' in T20 cricket. Whenever there negative story within Australia, Maxwell's name always comes up.

  • venkatesh018 on April 3, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    Excellent article, Daniel. It is time for ACB and other boards to put the money where the mouth is ! Or at least stop sermonising about how you hold Test cricket dear. Reward the Test specialists like Bird with a decent contract.

  • on April 3, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    As I see it, the lucrative t20 business is attracting its fair share of talent. There is no need for the unions to reward that market further. Their job is to boost the income of test cricketers to attract more entrants into this game.

  • Mitty2 on April 3, 2013, 14:04 GMT

    I'll be one to conform to the inevitable khawaja comments, and although I doubt what I say won't be covered by others, it still needs to be said. His treatment has been, shall I say, pathetic and horrific at the least. As a point of comparison to england's new test players Compton and root having FC averages of 44 and 37 respectively, it gives me some solace to see that their youngsters averages aren't all that impressive, and with Hughes, khawaja and burns all sharing averages above 42, I don't think our cupboard is THAT 'bare'... (bairstow's and taylor's averages are thouroughly inflated because of the amount of second tier games they've played.) But still, our batting stocks are obviously low so we need to give as much persistence and instill as much confidence into the young batters as possible. Unfortunately, CA has virtually cut off khawaja as a future batting gun with his terrible treatment and multiple confidence blows. Consequently, the onus lies on Hughes to become great.....

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on April 3, 2013, 17:18 GMT

    regarding the comments on ussie today. it sounds awfully familiar, but I think they will come up with an excuse not to pick him closer to the ashes

  • cricket-freak on April 3, 2013, 17:30 GMT

    Such a well-written article!and the line of thoughts regarding the future and past of CA and its players is so clear.True that T20 leagues are just increasing commercialism in cricket and nothing else....And T20 performers and furious bowlers are preferred over consistent and patient test players...Everyone is being attracted towards the direction of these lush T20 leagues,while only few like Clarke and Starc know how to resist it..

  • on April 3, 2013, 18:56 GMT

    You cannot just talk up test cricket, and then all the actions suggest otherwise. Actions have to back the words, otherwise "test cricket is the pinnacle" and other quotes echoing similar beliefs is nothing but rhetoric.

  • on April 3, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    my contract list players: 1.clarke 2.siddle 3.pattinson 4.paine 5.lyon 6.watson 7.starc 8.bird 9.warner 10.khawaja 11.smith 12.burns 13.silk 14.agar 15.faulkner 16.m.masrh 17.mckay 18.cummins 19.harris 20.hughes 21.haddin