Ben Hilfenhaus, the right-arm swing bowler, has continued his dramatic rise from bricklaying obscurity to Australia A selection by winning a full contract with Tasmania for 2006-07. A rookie last season, Hilfenhaus, 23, stepped away from the buidling site to pick up 39 Pura Cup wickets at 30.82 - his best figures were 7 for 58 against New South Wales - and was invited back to the Academy.
The Top End series begins on June 30 and Hilfenhaus will join Travis Birt, another Tasmanian contract holder, in the squad. Tim Paine, the wicketkeeper-batsman, has also been upgraded from a rookie to a full contract after making his first-class and domestic one-day debuts last summer. The highlight of Paine's campaign was 111 against New South Wales in the ING Cup. Tasmania's selectors made few changes to the squad, with Matthew Wade, the state's under-19 captain and a national representative who is also a talented Australian rules player, handed a rookie contract.
"The experience of such players as Dan Marsh, Michael Di Venuto and Michael Bevan, the growing maturity of George Bailey, Travis Birt and Brett Geeves, combined with the youth and talent of last year, auger well for the coming season," David Johnston, the TCA chief executive, said. "The potential of this group of players was shown at the end of last season and with the injury woes of 2005-06 behind us, we are confident that the Tigers will match up well against the other states."
Squad George Bailey, Travis Birt, Michael Bevan, Luke Butterworth, Sean Clingeleffer, David Dawson, Michael Dighton, Michael Di Venuto, Xavier Doherty, Andrew Downton, Brendan Drew, Brett Geeves, Adam Griffith, Ben Hilfenhaus, Dan Marsh, Tim Paine, Damien Wright, Ricky Ponting (Cricket Australia contracted).
Rookies Dane Anderson, Chris Duval, Jason Shelton, Matthew Wade.