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Usman Khawaja omitted from Australia's new contract list
Australia News

Usman Khawaja omitted from Australia's new contract list

Usman Khawaja has failed to get a spot in Australia's list of 20 nationally contracted players for the first time in five years, having fallen out of favour with the selectors.

He is among the group of six players axed by the selection committee as the focus has shifted towards limited-overs cricket in light of the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia.

All-rounder Mitchell Marsh has regained a contract with Cricket Australia after being overlooked in the previous list whereas his elder brother Shaun has lost his place as he nears the twilight of his playing career.

"With many of the squad crossing into all three formats it gives us the benefit of being able to add in specialists depending on the opposition and the conditions," CA chief selector Trevor Hohns said.

"The depth of this squad and the success of the past 12 months gives us that solid base."

Khawaja's torrid run in the 2019 World Cup and subsequent failures in the Ashes have been the reasons behind his exclusion.

Others dropped from the primary group include some of Australia's core members in recent times with the likes of Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Marcus Harris also shown the door.

Veteran speedster Peter Siddle was not considered as he has announced his retirement from international cricket.

"As is always the case there are unlucky omissions but, however, because you are not on the list does not mean you cannot be selected to represent Australia," Hohns claimed.

Mitchell Marsh endured his own period in the wilderness when he was not offered a contract last year but Hohns said his form showed "he has a lot of international cricket ahead of him as a batting all-rounder".

Contract upgrades for Marnus Labuschagne and Matthew Wade were on the cards while Joe Burns, Ashton Agar and Kane Richardson have been rewarded for their fine performances over the past 12 months.

"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 T20 and one-day games."

Despite Labuschagne's extraordinary introduction in Test cricket and a couple of fine knocks in the 50-over format, Hohns cautioned against fast-tracking the youngster into the T20I side.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 crisis has cast doubts over the T20 World Cup with much of the international calendar having already been forced to be compressed.

Health concerns have caused the authorities to mull over the possibility of resuming competitive cricket in the absence of crowds.

Contracted Players

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, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa