Reigning Sheffield Shield champions the Commonwealth Bank Bushrangers have elevated four rookies into an expanded squad of 31 players ahead of the 2016-17 season.
The squad of 31 is the largest announced in Victorian contracting history, helped by the fact that five players – Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson and Peter Siddle – are all on Cricket Australia contracts.
This has allowed an opportunity to dive deep into Victoria’s talent pool and name a squad full of young, emerging talent.
Victorian Chairman of Selectors Andrew Lynch said Harris will add to the young and exciting batting lineup spearheaded by Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis and Travis Dean.
“Harris is a young player who has proven himself at first-class level,” Lynch said.
“We are looking forward to Marcus joining our group of talented young batsmen.”
Coleman, now 24, was on a rookie contract in 2009-10 and represented Victoria and Australia at Under-19s level before having a stint at AFL football.
Coleman returns to the squad on a two-year contract after impressive returns with Victoria’s Toyota Futures League side and Melbourne in the Premier Cricket Firsts.
“Jackson had obvious talent through the youth program for Victoria,” Lynch said.
“He was part of the successful Australian Under-19 World Cup squad in 2010 and has performed well last season in both Futures and Premier Cricket.
“As an impressive left-arm quick, towering well over 6ft, he has his best cricket in front of him.”
Fellow elevated rookies Ayre, Short, Walker and Gotch have all impressed over the years under rookie contracts, with Short and Gotch having a successful Matador Cup tournament playing in the CA XI.
Walker played his first game for the Renegades during the KFC T20 Big Bash, while Ayre made his first-class debut in the 2015-16 Sheffield Shield season following a century against NSW for the Victorian Toyota Futures League team.
Six exciting new rookies have also been named in the squad of 31, including young wicketkeeper Sam Harper who impressed on Sheffield Shield debut last season taking a record nine dismissals.
Tom O’Donnell, left arm fast bowler from Essendon and son of former Australian player and Victorian Captain Simon O’Donnell, has also been included on the rookie list.
Jackson Koop and Blake Thomson both play for Melbourne in Premier Cricket, while right-arm off-break Sam Grimwade plays for Prahran.
Xavier Crone, the youngest in the Victorian Bushrangers squad of 31, plays for Carlton CC in the Premier Cricket.
Clint McKay has recently returned from Australian first-class cricket to concentrate on his Big Bash commitment with the Sydney Thunder and Leicestershire CCC in the English County system.
Ryan Sidebottom and Ben Ashkenazi have not been offered contracts for the 2016-17 season.
Commonwealth Bank Bushrangers 2016-17 playing list:
Xavier Crone (Rookie contract)
Aaron Finch (CA contract)
Sam Grimwade (Rookie contract)
Sam Harper (Rookie contract)
John Hastings (CA contract)
Jackson Koop (Rookie contract)
Glenn Maxwell (CA contract)
Tom O’Donnell (Rookie contract)
James Pattinson (CA contract)
Peter Siddle (CA contract)
Blake Thomson (Rookie contract)