Queensland upgrade five rookies for 2016-17

Marnus Labuschagne earned a Queensland contract for 2016-17 © Getty Images and Cricket Australia

Queensland have looked to local youth to replenish their list for the 2016-17 season, upgrading five rookies from last summer and handing a contract to 21-year-old opening batsman Marnus Labuschagne. The Bulls have lost veterans James Hopes and Ryan Harris to retirement, while legspinner Cameron Boyce and allrounder Simon Milenko have moved to Tasmania.

Fast bowler Nick Buchanan was dropped from last year’s contract list, while rookie batsman Nick Stevens did not have his contract renewed. Batsmen Sam Heazlett and Matt Renshaw were upgraded from rookie deals after breakout seasons, as was allrounder Jack Wildermuth, fast bowler Billy Stanlake and allrounder James Bazley.

New rookies for 2016-17 include 17-year-old high-school students Xavier Bartlett, a 192-centimetre fast bowler, and Max Bryant, a batsman and medium-pace bowler. Fast bowler Jack Prestwidge, the son of former Queensland allrounder Scott Prestwidge and brother of Queensland Fire bowler Georgia Prestwidge, was handed his first rookie contract.

There was also room on the rookie list for left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann, fast bowler Brendan Doggett, and top-order batsman Bryce Street.

“Having Usman Khawaja and Joe Burns on national contracts has allowed us to contract some exciting young rookie talent but also reward those players who emerged this season,” Justin Sternes, the Queensland convenor of selectors, said.

“Ultimately we want to produce more players for Australia, and to do this, we need to continue to develop the potential that we have, complemented by experienced players and coaching staff. It is a stable playing group at the moment and that is quite encouraging for us as we plan and work towards meeting our collective goals.”

Queensland finished fourth on the Sheffield Shield points table in 2015-16 and sixth in the Matador Cup, ahead only of the Cricket Australia XI.

Queensland squad James Bazley, Joe Burns (Cricket Australia contract), Ben Cutting, Luke Feldman, Jason Floros, Peter Forrest, Cameron Gannon, Peter George, Chris Hartley, Sam Heazlett, Charlie Hemphrey, Usman Khawaja (CA), Marnus Labuschagne, Chris Lynn, Michael Neser, James Pierson, Nathan Reardon, Matt Renshaw, Billy Stanlake, Mark Steketee, Mitch Swepson, Jack Wildermuth.
Rookies Xavier Bartlett, Max Bryant, Brendan Doggett, Jack Prestwidge, Matthew Kuhnemann, Bryce Street.

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Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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