Usman Khawaja misses out as Cricket Australia announce central contracts

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Usman Khawaja. Pic Cricket Australia

It has come hard on the talented left hand opening batsman Usman Khawaja as Cricket Australia has excluded him in the latest central contract list.

Cricket Australia on Thursday announced list of 20 men’s players for 2020-21 season who have been granted central contracts. It is first time in five years Khawaja has been excluded from the list.

Marnus Labuschagne and Mitchell Marsh were among the six new names in the list.

Ashton Agar, Joe Burns, Kane Richardson and Matthew Wade are the other four players who have received call-ups.

Apart from Khawaja’s those who miss the cut nclude Nathan Coulter-Nile, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis and Ashton Turner. Peter Siddle, who has retired from international cricket, was not considered.

“Marnus’ 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 twenty over and one-day games,” men’s national selector Trevor Hohns said.

“Matthew Wade’s summer showed he is not only a tough but a good Test player for us,” Hohns added. “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.

“After missing the list last year Mitch Marsh’s recent form showed he has a lot of international cricket ahead of him as a batting all-rounder. Mitch proved this with his man of the match performance against New Zealand at the SCG in the last game Australia played and a five-wicket haul in the last Test match he played on the Ashes tour.”

Contracted men’s 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, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

Hohns acknowledged some “unlucky omissions” in the list but pointed to the Mitchell Marsh and Matthew Wade case studies from last summer, where they were able to make a way in through stellar performances and subsequent upgrades.

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