It may be the end of the road for Bevan

Published: Tuesday, April 6, 2004, 19:12 [IST]
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Sydney:The One-day International career of Michael Bevan, once described as the world's best Limited Over cricketer, looks over.

The left-handed batsman was the big loser when the new Cricket Australia contracts were announced on Tuesday and may retire from the game.

Bevan, who boasts a remarkable limited overs average of 53.58 from 232 international matches, was left off the list of 25 players offered contracts for the 2004-05 season.

The others missing were pacemen Nathan Bracken, Andy Bichel, Ashley Noffke and offspinner Nathan Hauritz, while former Test captain Steve Waugh has retired.

Signalling a new direction for Australia's One-day world champions, selectors offered a first contract to Victorian batsman Brad Hodge along with South Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait.

Rejuvenated paceman Michael Kasprowicz and batsman Simon Katich were upgraded to full contracts, while batsmen Matthew Elliott and Michael Hussey rejoined the list.

Bevan, 33, has long been the master finisher of Australia's innings in One-dayers but after just 83 runs in five innings in the One-dayers in Sri Lanka, he lost his place.

Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said Bevan's contribution to the One-day team had dropped off over the past 12 months - he made only five half-centuries in 27 matches.

"We consider now to be the right time to move on and start to try and form a core group of players that will take us through the next period and through to the next World Cup," Hohns said in a statement.

"I guess it's fair to say we probably, at this stage, will not be picking Michael to tour Zimbabwe with the One-day side."

Bevan was unavailable for comment, but was "really disappointed", according to his manager Robert Joske and will make a decision about his future over the next week.

"We're not going to close off anything at this stage and we'll be looking at what's best for Michael, his cricket and his family," Joske said.

Bichel lost his place in the Test side during last summer's home series against India and failed to win a new contract in the face of fellow Queenslander Kasprowicz's wholehearted Test series in Sri Lanka.

Elliott, who steered Victoria to its breakthrough Sheffield Shield triumph and was the player of the season in the four-day competition, was determined to take full advantage of his third chance at national selection.

The 32-year-old opener, who played the last of his 20 Tests five years ago, was rumoured to have never fitted in under Steve Waugh's captaincy but denied the changing of the guard had contributed to his elevation.

"I don't think so, I think 1,400 runs has gone a long way to contributing to that sort of stuff," he said.

Cricket Australia's contracted players for 2004-05: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke, Matthew Elliott, Adam Gilchrist, Jason Gillespie, Ian Harvey, Matthew Hayden, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Michael Hussey, Michael Kasprowicz, Simon Katich, Justin Langer, Brett Lee, Darren Lehmann, Martin Love, Stuart MacGill, Jimmy Maher, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, Andrew Symonds, Shaun Tait, Shane Warne, Shane Watson, Brad Williams.

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