Labuschagne leads new faces on Cricket Australia’s contracted players list

World number three batsman Marnus Labuschagne heads the new names on Cricket Australia’s (CA) 2020-21 contracted player list ahead of an uncertain but crucial southern summer.

The announcement of 20 men and 15 women comes after the organisation recently said the coronavirus pandemic had cost it 20 million dollars (GBP 10 million) with more severe impacts expected if the forthcoming T20 World Cup and India’s tour of the country are cancelled.

Limited overs specialist Ashton Agar, Test opening batsman Joe Burns and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh joined white-ball bowler Kane Richardson, former Warwickshire wicket-keeper Matthew Wade and Labuschagne in being called up to the national list, CA said in its statement.

Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said the list provided a “strong balance”.

“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 twenty over and one-day games,” he said.

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

Those to lose their national contracts include Middlesex captain Peter Handscomb, former Lancashire batsman Usman Khawaja, Nathan Coulter-Nile and ex-Yorkshire opening batsman Shaun Marsh.

Hohns said these were “unlucky omissions” but affected players should still aim to represent Australia.

“As Mitch Marsh and Matthew Wade have proven, there are always plenty of opportunities for those who have missed out to be reselected by performing consistently at domestic level; and importantly to make the most of any opportunity that comes their way at international level,” he said.

Players can be promoted to the list by earning upgrades throughout the season. They need to acquire 12 points, with five available for playing a Test, two for a one-dayer and one for a T20.

The full list of men’s players is: 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.