Sydney: Fast bowlers were the winners, as Australia's post-ball tampering era began on Wednesday with a heavily revamped list of nationally contracted players, minus the suspended Steve Smith and David Warner.
The list of 20 men's players offered deals by Cricket Australia for the 2018-19 season on the basis of their performances over the past 12 months included five first-timers. Speedsters Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson and Andrew Tye made the cut, along with all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and wicketkeeper Alex Carey.
New Test captain Tim Paine and batsman Shaun Marsh rejoined the list, while spinner Adam Zampa, pacemen Jackson Bird and James Pattinson, all-rounder Hilton Cartwright and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade dropped off. Chadd Sayers, who played the final match of the four-Test series against South Africa, missed out.
The minimum value of a contract for the upcoming season is $286,000 (AUD). With the next World Cup falling within the contract period, selectors placed a strong emphasis on the limited overs formats in selecting players.
"This period is set to include a significant amount of limited-overs cricket, including the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales," said national selector Trevor Hohns. "For that reason, there has been a bit of a focus in this contracting period on white-ball cricket, as we look ahead to trying to win back-to-back World Cups."
Test opener Matt Renshaw held onto his contract after being rushed in as a replacement for Cameron Bancroft in the fourth Test against South Africa late last month.
But Joe Burns, who was also flown to Johannesburg to help out after Smith, Warner and Bancroft were sent home over the tampering scandal failed to make the grade.
"It's a tough process, but we're very satisfied with this group of 20 players," said Hohns. "We think this a well-balanced list to represent Australia across all three formats."
The ball-tampering scandal during the third Test in South Africa stunned the sport and sparked reviews into the culture within Australian cricket. Smith and Warner have been banned from international and domestic cricket for a year, while Bancroft was exiled for nine months, leaving the squad badly weakened. They have all apologised and accepted the sanctions.
Smith was charged with knowledge of the plot to alter the ball, while Warner was charged with developing it and instructing Bancroft to carry it out.
Contracted list: Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine, Matt Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Marnus Labuschagne however, misses out due to "logistical complexities" of joining the squad from the UK, which would necessitate him to undergo two weeks of quarantine.
The ball-tampering scandal was put under the spotlight again when Bancroft last week revealed that Australian bowlers in the team at that time might have had some knowledge about the plot.
Bancroft, who had the sandpaper in his possession, was suspended for nine months for his role in the ball tampering plot during the Cape Town Test.