Opening batsman Ed Cowan will officially be part of the New South Wales squad again after being handed a state contract for 2015-16. Cowan had in March announced his decision to leave Tasmania and return to Sydney for family reasons, but he did so at the time without an offer from the Blues and with uncertainty surrounding his future in the game.
However, Cowan's experience and form - he was fifth on the Sheffield Shield run tally last summer with 815 at 47.94 - were sufficient to prompt New South Wales to include him in their squad for next season. Cowan began his career with the Blues before moving to Tasmania and earning 18 Test caps; he hopes to add more after the likely retirement of Chris Rogers after this year's Ashes tour.
"I certainly still have really strong desire to play Test cricket," Cowan said. "There will probably be an opportunity for an opening batsman to put their hand up after the Ashes. First and foremost for me it's about scoring a lot of runs for New South Wales and enjoying my cricket."
Andrew Jones, the Cricket New South Wales chief executive, said: "We are delighted to have Ed Cowan back. During his time in Tasmania, Ed has developed himself into an international player and we are very fortunate that he has chosen to bring his family home."
Cowan is one of four inclusions on the New South Wales list, alongside offspinner William Somerville, opening batsman Nick Larkin and allrounder Ben Dwarshuis. Opening batsman Scott Henry has been cut from the squad after playing every Shield game in 2014-15 for 471 runs at 33.64, while Jake Doran has moved to Tasmania and Patrick Pisel has been delisted.
Peter Nevill, Nic Maddinson, Sean Abbott and Kurtis Patterson have each been locked in for a further two years, while new rookies to the squad include Mickey Edwards, Henry Thornton, Daniel Solway, Jonte Pattison and Ryan Gibson.
"There hasn't been much change to our squad from last season," David Freedman, the New South Wales talent manager said. "We have a lot of very talented young cricketers, like Nic Maddinson, Sean Abbott, Gurinder Sandhu and Kurtis Patterson, who have now played a few seasons of first-class cricket.
"Coupled with the significant experience of guys like Moises Henriques, Peter Nevill, Steve O'Keefe, Doug Bollinger and now Ed Cowan, the squad is very well placed to challenge for titles next summer."
New South Wales squad Sean Abbott, Doug Bollinger, Ryan Carters, Michael Clarke (Cricket Australia contract), Trent Copeland, Ed Cowan, Pat Cummins (CA), Ben Dwarshuis, Brad Haddin (CA), Josh Hazlewood (CA), Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Josh Lalor, Nick Larkin, Nathan Lyon (CA), Nic Maddinson, Peter Nevill, Steve O'Keefe, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Gurinder Sandhu, Steven Smith (CA), Will Somerville, Mitchell Starc (CA), David Warner (CA), Shane Watson (CA). Rookies Mickey Edwards, Henry Thornton, Daniel Solway, Jonte Pattison, Ryan Gibson, Harry Conway.