Katich among seven players to lose Australian contract

June 8th, 2011 - 2:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, June 8 (IANS) Australian opening batsman Simon Katich is among seven players who have lost their central contracts. Cricket Australia (CA) has set its focus on blooding youngsters and chalk their way up in Test rankings.

Australia endured a disastrous season last summer which included a humiliating Ashes loss. They have hurtled down to fifth position in Test rankings which is led by India followed by South Africa and England.

James Hopes, Andrew McDonald, Clint McKay, Marcus North, Shaun Tait and Adam Voges are the others to lose their contracts.

The 25-player contracted list for 2011-12 announced Tuesday include Patrick Cummins, Xavier Doherty, John Hastings, David Hussey, Usman Khawaja, Jason Krejza and James Pattinson.

Doherty, Hastings, Hussey, Khawaja and Krejza ended 2010-11 earned contracts last year through upgrade points by making the international sides.

New South Wales quick Cummins (18) and Victorian paceman Pattinson (21) are two of the new faces.

“Test cricket is our big concern and we’ve injected players into that - young batters, two very exciting young quicks and we really need to find two or three champions in the next two years. And in some of those young players we think we’ve got two or three champions,” said Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch.

Hilditch indicated that Katich was a victim of having three players who will be 36 this smmer. Michael Hussey and Ricky Ponting are the others.

Katich has been sidelined despite being the highest scorer in Australian cricket since returning to the side in 2008 to replace Matthew Hayden. He won the Allan Border Medal Test Player of the Year 2009-10.

“Several players have unfortunately not been offered contracts this year,” he said.

“The most notable of those is Simon Katich. Simon has been a fantastic player for Australia and a key and successful member of the Test team in recent years.

“However, amongst other matters, the NSP felt it was the right time now to start blooding our next opening partnership in preparation for the Ashes two years from now.

“The opening partnership is critical to the success of any team and takes time to develop the necessary experience at international level. We feel it is important this change is made now as we prepare for the challenges ahead.”

Hilditch said the next 12 months is a very important period in Australian cricket. “It will undoubtedly be a tough and demanding period as we play three of the world’s top four Test nations during away series against Sri Lanka and South Africa and home series against New Zealand and India.”

“However we see it as a very exciting opportunity to commence regaining Australia’s leading position in world cricket.”

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