Experienced batsmen Mark Cosgrove and Tom Cooper have lost their contracts with South Australia after a summer in which neither man had a significant impact on the Sheffield Shield campaign. The 2015-16 season was one of regeneration for the Redbacks, who were runners-up in both the Shield final and the Matador Cup final, and were pleased at the emergence of several young players.
Cosgrove, 31, played every match in the Shield campaign but failed to pass 65 in any innings, scoring 565 runs at 26.90. Cooper, 29, scored 249 runs at 17.78 in his seven Shield games but was more effective in the one-day competition, where he was among the top ten run scorers for the tournament and posted a fighting century in the final.
Instead of the experienced duo, the Redbacks will put their faith in younger batsmen such as Jake Lehmann, Jake Weatherald, Alex Ross, Sam Raphael and Kelvin Smith. Weatherald has earned his first South Australia contract, while other inclusions are Alex Carey, Patrick Page and the spinner Tom Andrews, who has been upgraded from a rookie deal.
Along with Cosgrove - who began his career with the Redbacks before moving to Tasmania and then returning home in 2014 - and Cooper, South Australia have also cut the fast bowler Gary Putland and the rookie fast bowler Nick Winter. Putland, 30, played four Matador Cup matches last season but did not figure in the Shield campaign, although injuries affected his summer.
"We're really excited to have Alex, Jake, Tom and Patrick in our senior squad after some outstanding efforts from them this year," Tim Nielsen, South Australia's general manager of high performance, said. "Their inclusion into the squad is another example of the successful pathways implemented in South Australian cricket, as well as the exciting talent pool we have in this state at the moment and we're confident they'll have long futures with the Redbacks moving forward.
"It's never easy to see experienced players go, especially when they have been an important part of the team for such a long time, but we're confident we still have a good balance of youth and experience in our side. We have no doubt that all of the players who missed out on a contract will still be in selection plans if they are performing for their respective Premier Cricket clubs."
South Australia squad Travis Head (capt), Tom Andrews, Nick Benton, Alex Carey, Callum Ferguson, Jake Lehmann, Tim Ludeman, Joe Mennie, Patrick Page, Sam Raphael, Kane Richardson, Alex Ross, Chadd Sayers, Kelvin Smith, Jake Weatherald, Daniel Worrall, Adam Zampa.
Rookies Wes Agar, John Dalton, David Grant, Alex Gregory, Harry Nielsen, Cameron Valente.