MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe, allrounder James Faulkner and veteran batsman Shaun Marsh have been cut from the list of 20 players selected for Cricket Australia central contracts for the 2017-18 season in a shakeup of the men’s squad.
The 32-year-old O’Keefe took 19 wickets in Australia’s recent test tour to India, including two six-wicket hauls in the upset win at Pune to open the four-match series. He has been dropped in favor of 23-year-old Ashton Agar, who scored 98 on debut in the 2013 Ashes series in England, but has only taken two wickets in two tests.
Allrounder Hilton Cartwright, who played one test in the series win against Pakistan, and uncapped fast bowler Billy Stanlake have also been offered retainers.
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Faulkner, 26, has only played one test but had been a regular member of Australia’s limited-overs teams since 2013 and was voted player of the match in Australia’s World Cup final win over New Zealand in 2015.
Cricket Australia and the players’ union are still negotiating terms of conditions of future contracts, so the new contracts can’t be enacted.
Australia selection chairman Trevor Hohns said the 20 players were picked with the series against England and South Africa coming up.
”We have selected 20 players for this year’s contract list with a focus on players who we believe could play a part in an exciting 12 months of cricket,” Hohns said in a statement. ”Consideration has also been given to some players who we believe could potentially play in all three formats for Australia.”
Hohns said Cartwright deserved his spot as the second-highest scorer in the domestic first-class competition last season, Agar was a talent with the bat, ball and in the field who could cover the three formats, and Stanlake picked up the last spot based on his future potential.
Selectors also chose 13 women for the central contracts, which are set to commence July 1 if the administrators and union can agree on a deal.