31 Mar 2014

Cowan and Wade dropped from Cricket Australia's contract list

6:42 pm on 31 March 2014

Australia have cut opening batsman Ed Cowan and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade from their list of 18 centrally-contracted cricketers, but given opener Phillip Hughes another chance to establish himself.

The 25-year-old Hughes has been dropped three times since his 2009 test debut against South Africa and may count himself lucky to retain his spot with David Warner and Chris Rogers cementing their opening partnership in recent series against England and South Africa.

Wade has been shut out of the Australia side with the successful return of veteran keeper Brad Haddin, while Cowan was dropped after failing in the first test on tour against England last year and has been overlooked since.

Batsman Shaun Marsh, awarded a central contract upgrade after slotting into Australia's test side in South Africa, was retained on the list in a vote of confidence for the 30-year-old lefthander who scored a century at Centurion before being dropped after making a pair at Port Elizabeth.

Usman Khawaja, another batsman who failed to grab his chance in England last year, was omitted from the list along with young paceman Patrick Cummins, spinner Xavier Doherty, seamer Ben Hilfenhaus and one-day bowling specialist Clint McKay.

Top order batsmen Adam Voges and Alex Doolan, and fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile, also missed out after being awarded contract upgrades last year.

The minimum retainer for centrally contracted players is $265 thousand for the coming 2014-15 season.