Jason Gillespie has held on to his Cricket Australia contract despite not playing any international games over the past year, but Michael Kasprowicz and Simon Katich have lost their six-figure deals. The 25-man list has taken on a fresh look after the retirements of Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Justin Langer and Damien Martyn and the spin and fast-bowling stocks have been bolstered.
Cullen Bailey, the South Australia legspinner who was married at the weekend, has picked up his first contract in a squad that includes the slow men Brad Hogg, Daniel Cullen, Stuart MacGill and Cameron White. "The retirement of Shane is a significant issue for Australian cricket," Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said. "While he is obviously irreplaceable we are pleased that we have experienced spinners in Stuart MacGill, who has a great Test record, and Brad Hogg, who has just finished a highly successful World Cup. We will also look to Cullen Bailey and Dan Cullen to continue with their exciting development and realise their potential."
Tasmania's fast bowler Ben Hilfenhaus, who picked up 60 Pura Cup wickets
last season, has earned his first deal while Gillespie was a shock inclusion. In March Gillespie was convinced he would be dropped, but he is likely to be viewed as high-quality back-up if the new breed fails in the Test arena over the next year.
"It was pretty unexpected but I'm delighted to have another contract," Gillespie, who is currently playing for Yorkshire, told Cricinfo. "As with any player I still have ambitions to play at the top level and will be trying my best to get back. The selectors know where I am if there are any injuries and it's just a case me producing the results."
"The retirement of Glenn McGrath leaves a huge hole," Hilditch said. "But the squad contains some really exciting fast-bowling talent in Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson and now there is the addition of Ben Hilfenhaus for the first time."
Kasprowicz had an injury-ruined 2006-07, starting with a back problem suffered during John Buchanan's boot camp, and at 35 his international career appears to be over. Katich, the New South Wales captain, was a limited-overs opener at the beginning of last season before losing his place to Shane Watson at the Champions Trophy.
Chris Rogers, the Western Australia batsman, has been given some encouragement after being the leading Pura Cup run-scorer
with 1202 and he is expected to battle with Phil Jaques for Langer's spot in the opening Test against Sri Lanka at the Gabba on November 8. Adam Voges and James Hopes were also added to the squad that is picked on performances over the past year and the likelihood of them being selected in national teams.
"This list of players still represents a very experienced group," Hilditch said, "but also includes some exciting young talent that will ensure our reign as champions in both Test and one-day cricket can continue." The minimum contract retainer is set at A$155,000 and does not include match or tour fees or prizemoney.
Contracted players Cullen Bailey (SA), Nathan Bracken (NSW), Stuart Clark (NSW), Michael Clarke (NSW), Daniel Cullen (SA), Adam Gilchrist (WA), Jason Gillespie (SA), Brad Haddin (NSW), Matthew Hayden (Qld), Ben Hilfenhaus (Tas), Brad Hodge (Vic), Brad Hogg (WA), James Hopes (Qld), Michael Hussey (WA), Phil Jaques (NSW), Mitchell Johnson (Qld), Brett Lee (NSW), Stuart MacGill (NSW), Ricky Ponting (Tas), Chris Rogers (WA), Andrew Symonds (Qld), Shaun Tait (SA), Adam Voges (WA), Shane Watson (Qld), Cameron White (Vic).