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Former Australia captain Steve Smith, ex-vice captain David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft have been omitted from the list of centrally contracted players.
The trio failed to obtain new central contracts as they were banned by Cricket Australia for their involvement in the ball tampering scandal in South Africa.
It is understood that Warner played a leading role in the scandal, which occurred on the third day of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town, as he told Bancroft to alter the condition of the ball with sandpaper.
As a result, Warner and Smith were banned for 12 months, while Bancroft was suspended for nine months. Smith won’t be allowed to captain Australia for two years, while Warner won’t be considered for leadership roles in the future.
Meanwhile, wicketkeeper Tim Paine, who has assumed the role of captain since Smith was banned, has been handed a central contract. He was not among the list of players with contracts for the 2017/18 season.
All-rounder Marcus Stoinis, wicketkeeper Alex Carey, and pace bowlers Kane Richardson and Jhye Richardson also made the cut.
However, spinner Adam Zampa, seamer James Pattinson and all-rounder Hilton Cartwright were dropped from the list of contracted players.
“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,” national selector Trevor Hohns was quoted by ESPNcricinfo as saying. “Alex (Carey) is the second wicketkeeper in this squad, alongside Tim Paine. He is a promising young player who has had a strong domestic summer and performed well in his international opportunities to date with bat and gloves.
“Jhye (Richardson) is a young fast bowler who has been on the fringes of selection in all three forms of the game. He’s an exciting prospect who has played ODI and T20 cricket for Australia this summer, and was in the Test squad for the recent tour of South Africa.”
List of contracted players: 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, Matthew Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye.