PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 20: Dean Elgar of South Africa runs a singleduring day 1 of the 2nd Test match between South Africa and Australia at AXXESS St Georges on February 20, 2014 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. (Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images)

Johannesburg – Dean Elgar was awarded a national cricket contract as a replacement for Graeme Smith, Cricket SA said.

Elgar's name was omitted from the original list of contracted players for the 2014/15 year, but was added after Smith's surprise decision to retire from international cricket this week.

“Dean is the obvious replacement and must be excited by the opportunity to emulate the greatness achieved by his recently retired national captain,” CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.

“He has all the attributes and qualifies as the next player eligible to be awarded a contract in terms of the new methodology we developed together with the South African Cricketers' Association.”

Contracts are awarded on an annual basis but seven players – Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn – signed two-year contracts for the first time, “to secure and recognise their value”.

The other 10 nationally contracted players awarded one-year contracts were: Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Imran Tahir and Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Jacques Kallis had been awarded a special contract for one year only.

In addition, 12 franchise players received CSA High Performance Centre (HPC) top-up contracts, also for a one-year period.

Thet were: Kyle Abbott, Temba Bavuma, Simon Harmer, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Eddie Leie, Mangaliso Mosehle, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Stiaan van Zyl and Khaya Zondo. - Sapa