Melbourne:Australia has given troubled allrounder Andrew Symonds a contract for the 2009-2010 season but dropped injury-prone paceman Shaun Tait from its list of 25 contracted players.
Callum Ferguson, the 24-year-old South Australian who is averaging 47 in 14 limited-overs internationals, and uncapped wicketkeeper Graham Manou were added to the list by Cricket Australia, while Tait, opener Phil Jaques, batsman Adam Voges, allrounder Ashley Noffke and spinner Beau Casson were cut.
Australia is due to announce its squad for the Twenty20 World Cup and the subsequent Ashes series in England next week, with Symonds no certainty to make the test squad after a series of injuries and off-field incidents kept him out of the lineup since the end of last year.
Phil Hughes, the 20-year-old lefthander who made his debut in the recent test series win in South Africa and has scored three centuries in recent weeks in English county cricket, took Jaques' place among the contracted players.
Veteran opener Matthew Hayden retired at the end of the last Australian summer.
Allrounders Andrew McDonald and Marcus North also earned full contracts after their performances against South Africa.
Despite being one of the fastest bowlers in cricket, Tait has struggled with shoulder, back and other injuries and been restricted to three tests since his debut in the 2005 Ashes. The 26-year-old bowler played only one test in 2008 and has now effectively been relegated to No. 7 in the pecking order of candidates for test pacemen.
Peter Siddle earned a full contract on the strength of his 2009 performances in the absence of injured Brett Lee and Stuart Clark, while Doug Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus did enough in their limited appearances to win full contracts ahead of Tait.
Nathan Bracken was retained in the list primarily as a limited-overs specialist.
The contracted players are paid a retainer on a sliding scale determined by the National Selection Panel, with match and tour fees and prize money paid on top.
"It's obviously an important time for Australian cricket with the Ashes on the horizon," chief selector Andrew Hilditch said in a statement. "With respect to one-day cricket, we're building towards the 2011 ICC World Cup and that was strong in our thoughts when finalizing this list.
"It's obviously a very exciting time for players receiving their first contract, such as Phillip Hughes, who has had an outstanding start for Australia and will have an important role in the team's future.
"Peter Siddle has had an outstanding debut season and richly deserves his contract. Andrew McDonald, Marcus North and Nathan Hauritz have been rewarded for their performances in South Africa and Nathan had an excellent one-day tournament against Pakistan recently."
Cricket Australia's contracted players for 2009-10: Doug Bollinger, Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark, Michael Clarke, Callum Ferguson, Brad Haddin, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Hodge, James Hopes, Phil Hughes, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Brett Lee, Graham Manou, Shaun Marsh, Andrew McDonald, Marcus North, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson, Cameron White.