MELBOURNE: The Australian cricket board has removed Pakistani-born top order batsman Usman Khawaja its annual list of 20 elite, contracted players in 2020.
Khawaja had fallen out of favour with selectors midway through last year’s Ashes. The 33-year-old lefthander has not played for the test side since being dropped after the third test against England in Leeds last August.
Khawaja is among a slew of 2019-contracted players to miss out on new deals including fellow batsmen Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris and Shaun Marsh, fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis.
In their place, Marnus Labuschagne, Ashton Agar, Joe Burns, Mitchell Marsh, Kane Richardson and Matthew Wade have all been rewarded.
“Marnus’s rise has been meteoric and well-documented, Joe has been a good test match player, Ashton Agar’s form in T20 Internationals has been exceptional, while Kane Richardson has been outstanding in the 20-over and one-day games,” selector Trevor Hohns said in a statement on Thursday.
“Matthew Wade’s summer showed he is not only a tough but a good Test player for us.
“His form extended into white ball cricket late in the summer, earning him well deserved call-ups to the one-day and T20 Australian squads.”
Players not included on the initial list of 20 contracts can later earn a contract by accruing 12 “upgrade points” through national team appearances.
Players receive five points for a test match, two for a one-day international and one for a T20 International.
The contracts list was released a month behind schedule as governing body Cricket Australia scrambles to shore up its finances amid a global sports shutdown due to the coronavirus.
Cricket Australia contracts:
Ashton Agar, Joe Burns, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.