Cricket: Atherton misses out

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MICHAEL ATHERTON and Graeme Hick are two surprise omissions from a nine-man list of England players offered guaranteed winter contracts by the Test and County Cricket Board yesterday, writes Martin Johnson.

Graham Gooch, Alec Stewart, Robin Smith, Jack Russell, Phillip DeFreitas and Chris Lewis have been offered contracts, worth around pounds 25,000, whether or not they are selected for England's full tour to India, or the A tour to Australia. Mark Ramprakash, Philip Tufnell, and Neil Fairbrother, are on contracts of around pounds 15,000.