Theo Doropoulos, the former Western Australia allrounder, has emerged as the big winner early in Darren Berry's tenure at South Australia after earning a state contract with the Redbacks. Doropoulos, fellow allrounder Chadd Sayers and the offspinner Nathan Lyon were among the additions to South Australia's contract list, while last year's imports Rob Cassell and Tim Lang have been axed.
There was also no room for the fast bowler Chris Duval, who didn't have his contract renewed, while Graham Manou and Ben Edmondson were also gone from the list after they retired following the 2010-11 season. The fast bowler Shaun Tait will not have a state contract either, with his retirement from first-class and 50-over cricket meaning he can focus solely on the Big Bash League.
The inclusion of Doropoulos, 26, was a surprise after Berry said last month that he was keen to work mainly with the talent pool already in South Australia during his first season at the helm. But Berry said the decision to import Doropoulos, who was a fringe player with the Warriors before heading to Melbourne last summer, was in line with his view that men who star in grade cricket should be rewarded.
"He adds balance to our squad," Berry said of Doropoulos. "He is a batting allrounder and Chadd Sayers comes in as a bowling allrounder. Chadd Sayers was the Bradman medallist [in Adelaide's grade cricket] with outstanding performances and Theo Doropoulos was the Ryder medallist in Melbourne, by the length of the Flemington straight. You know my beliefs in the grade system, [and they] have dominated the grade system and deserve an opportunity.
"[Doropoulos] can bat anywhere from four, five-six is probably his strong area, and he bowls more than handy medium pace. It just gives us some depth and balance. If you look at our squad, we've got an outstanding allrounder there already in Daniel Christian, but not too many other genuine allrounders."
Sayers, 23, has been a strong performer in Adelaide's club cricket for several seasons and made his first-class debut late last season. The inclusion of Lyon was no surprise, after he starred in the Big Bash last summer and earned an Australia A call-up for the tour of Zimbabwe; he took four wickets in the opening match against the hosts in Harare on Wednesday.
The Redbacks have also upgraded the fast bowlers Kane Richardson and Michael Delaney from the rookie list to full contracts. Four new rookies have been added to the squad: Joe Mennie, a fast bowler who has moved from New South Wales, the batsmen Ben Dougall and Tom Thornton, and the fast man Elliot Opie.
South Australia squad Cullen Bailey, Aiden Blizzard, Cameron Borgas, Daniel Christian, Tom Cooper, Michael Delaney, Theo Doropoulos, Callum Ferguson (Cricket Australia contract), Peter George, Jake Haberfield, Daniel Harris, Michael Klinger, Tim Ludeman, Nathan Lyon, Aaron O'Brien, Gary Putland, Kane Richardson, Chadd Sayers, James Smith.
Rookies Ben Dougall, Joe Mennie, Elliot Opie, Tom Thornton.