ONE former Hampshire player has overtaken another as cricket Australia’s best paid international star.

The announcement of the contracted players list, which sees the total contracts trimmed from 25 to 17, has been delayed for over a month as the ACA and CA negotiated the final details of their agreement, which now runs for five years.

The result of that negotiation sees the players receiving a reduced base percentage of 24.5% of revenue, but with the opportunity to earn up to 27% with bonuses for team success.

It means that skipper Michael Clarke will reportedly earn around 2million Australian dollars (£1.29m), which includes a 300,000-dollar bonus for the captaincy, allowing the skipper to surpass Shane Watson as the best-paid Australian player.

The reduced contracts numbers see ED Cowan, who has played Australia's past seven Test matches, miss out on a contract despite a weighting towards Test matches, while Australian Twenty20 captain George Bailey also misses out.

Bailey and Cowan will now need to sign contracts with Tasmania, putting extra pressure on that state to balance their player payments.

One-day international regulars Peter Forrest, Clint McKay and ex-Ageas Bowl all-rounder Dan Christian are also left out and will need to secure state contracts, with a chance they could be upgraded later on.

Chairman of the National Selection Panel John Inverarity said the change in the structure of the contracts will allow greater flexibility in terms of upgrading fringe or developing players.

"Naming just 17 players initially, with the ability to upgrade others, as and when performance warrants, ensures a tighter alignment between current performance, recognition and reward," he said.

"The list of 17 players is brim-full of talent, raw enthusiasm and determination to enhance the performance and reputation of Australian cricket.

"In addition, there are a number of very good and highly regarded players who the NSP have considerable faith in - and hopes for - who didn't, on this occasion, 'make the cut' for the contract list of 17.

Ed Cowan, George Bailey, Peter Forrest, Clint McKay, Dan Christian and some others come readily to mind.

"The expectation is that a handful of names will be added to the list as the season unfolds and upgrade points are accrued by those players representing Australia in the various formats of the game."

ACA chief Paul Marsh said the new MOU provided considerable benefit for current, future and past players.

"The thing we are most excited about is that this new MOU provides excellent outcomes for not only our current players but also, through the 2015 Cricket World Cup revenues, a program that will significantly benefit our past players and Australian cricket," he said.

"The framework we've negotiated will also benefit future players and as such we believe it is the most comprehensive agreement the ACA and CA have ever negotiated."

Australia central contracts: Michael Clarke, Patrick Cummins, Xavier Doherty, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, Shane Watson, David Warner.