Veterans Jon Moss and Jason Arnberger have not had their Victoria contracts renewed for 2007-08, marking the second year in a row the Bushrangers have made major changes to their squad. Also losing their spots were the fast bowlers Rob Cassell and Brad Knowles, while seven new faces were added to the senior list.
The removal of Arnberger, 34, was expected as a long-term back injury had kept him out of action for the entire 2006-07 season, although he has not officially retired. More of a surprise was the departure of Moss, 32, who has returned home to Sydney after being a regular in the Victoria side for the last seven seasons.
Greg Shipperd, Victoria's coach, said Moss and Arnberger had been tireless contributors for the Bushrangers since they both moved from New South Wales. "These two players have given tremendous service to Victorian cricket over a long period," he said. "Arnie's record places him among some of the best openers of his era, while Mossy has been a terrific allrounder who has provided match-winning contributions on many occasions."
The Bushrangers have promoted the batsman Aiden Blizzard from the rookie list and also gained the wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade from Tasmania. Clinton McKay and Darren Pattinson, two fast bowlers who made their first-class debuts last season when Victoria's bowling stocks were dwindling, have been rewarded with state deals.
Rob Quiney was named on the list after a promising start to his Pura Cup career. Age did not prove an issue for the legspinner Bryce McGain, who at 35 has been signed up to help cover for the retirement of Shane Warne and the possibility Cameron White will spend time in Australian colours. The allrounder John Hastings, 21, will bolster the fast-bowling brigade having moved from New South Wales.
The state's two new rookies are Michael Hill, 18, a left-hand batsman who is part of this year's Academy intake, and James Pattinson, who was one of three players included in the Academy's development squad in 2007. Pattinson, 17, joins his brother and fellow fast bowler Darren in Victoria's plans for 2007-08.
The injury-prone Cassell, who played all of his state cricket in 2002-03, was not offered a new contract as other fast bowlers overtook him in the selectors' eyes. Another fast man, Knowles, was also axed after an injury-interrupted 2006-07.
Peter Nevill's position as the backup wicketkeeper was stolen by Wade, meaning his rookie contract was not renewed. Grant Baldwin, Matthew Gale and Matthew Harrison were also dropped from the rookie list.
Squad Aiden Blizzard, Adam Crosthwaite, Gerard Denton, Shane Harwood, John Hastings, Brad Hodge (Cricket Australia contract), David Hussey, Nick Jewell, Michael Klinger, Mick Lewis, Lloyd Mash, Andrew McDonald, Bryce McGain, Clinton McKay, Dirk Nannes, Darren Pattinson, Rob Quiney, Peter Siddle, Matthew Wade, Cameron White (CA), Allan Wise.
Rookies Aaron Finch, Michael Hill, Jon Holland, James Pattinson.