Todd Murphy, Lance Morris, Jhye Richardson earn Australia central contracts; Peter Handscomb, Matt Renshaw overlooked

A total of 24 players were offered new contracts.

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Todd Murphy, Jhye Richardson and Lance Morris
Todd Murphy, Jhye Richardson and Lance Morris. (Photo Source: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images, Will Russell/Getty Images and Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Australia’s backup fast bowlers in the form of Lance Morris, Jhye Richardson and Sean Abbott have played a huge role in Australia’s success in Test cricket in recent times. Regular pacers like Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc missed quite a few matches due to injury and thus, they stepped up time and again and eventually got rewarded as Cricket Australia offered a central contract to all these players.

Meanwhile, Todd Murphy, who made his Test debut in the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy has also been offered a new contract. On the other hand, Mitchell Swepson is one of those cricketers who lost their deal. Surprisingly, despite doing reasonably well, Peter Handscomb and Matt Renshaw were overlooked while Marcus Harris, who hasn’t played Test cricket in over a year, has managed to earn a new contract.

However, national selector George Bailey justified his selection, stating the fact that Harris had a brilliant record in England and could be lethal for Australia in the upcoming Test series.

“Looking ahead, back in England and another home summer then some Tests in New Zealand, we certainly rate Harry's ability in those conditions, (He has) a really, good strong record in England as well. One of our criteria when doing the contracts is past performance, but certainly one is an eye to the future as well so perhaps gives an indication of where we hold Harry,” Bailey said.

We need to ensure we have a clear pathway and a bit of succession plan as well: Bailey

Bailey also explained the reason behind offering central contracts to so many fast bowlers. He believed that since the season was long, with five Test matches against England and then the ODI World Cup in India among many other bi-lateral series, it was important to give everyone a chance and also prepare the successors for their current stars.

“We've been very fortunate in the longevity and robustness of our best fast bowlers and for the most part they've played multiple formats as well. Clearly, we've seen over the last 12 months, and we expect going forward, through nothing else than the sheer weight of cricket, that we needed a squad of fast bowlers.

“We need to ensure we have a clear pathway and a bit of succession plan as well. Offering contracts to some players gives us the opportunity to sit down and have a really strong conversation around what the next 12 months will look like for them,” Bailey added.

Australia men's contracts:  Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Lance Morris, Todd Murphy, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa

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