With Round 3 of the BBL just beginning, I had a quick glance at the team sheets for every squad to evaluate and understand all the player movement in the off-season.
While doing this, I came to a realisation about overseas players in the Big Bash. The majority are either from England or Afghanistan. Out of the 28 signed overseas players for BBL10, 13 are English and a further five are from Afghanistan.
The next best countries are West Indies with four players in BBL10, South Africa with three, New Zealand with two and Nepal with one. Out of these nations, why is it that England and Afghanistan are leading the pack?
Let’s start off with England. With 18 county teams competing in the T20 Blast every year, England has a wide variety of white ball talent.
Hundreds of English T20 players are up for grabs due to no fixtures overlapping between the English domestic cricket season and the Big Bash every year.
This can be put down to the obvious, in that summer occurs in the opposite time of the year in Australian opposed to the UK.
Nonetheless, players like Phil Salt, Tom Banton, Liam Livingstone, Alex Hales and many more definitely help strengthen the league and are vital for the Big Bash to continue to grow.
On the other hand, many clubs chose to go down the route of acquiring Afghanistan players. Similarly to the British players, many Afghanistan players come to Australia due to a lack of fixture overlapping.
The difference being that these players play very little international cricket, meaning that many world-class internationals are available to compete in the Big Bash for the full season every year.
Although Afghanistan isn’t a cricketing powerhouse yet, as of 2017, they are a full ICC member, having qualified for the last two ODI World Cups and the last four T20 World Cups. O
f these five players in BBl10, all of them are either part-time or full-time spin-bowlers, with Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman being first and second in the current ICC T20I Bowling rankings.
Also among these five is 15-year-old Noor Ahmad. Ahmad currently represents Afghanistan U19 and the Melbourne Renegades and is one of the brightest prospects in international white-ball cricket.
Despite being just on the other side of the Tasman, New Zealand only has two overseas players in BBL10. This is due to the New Zealand T20 franchise league the ‘Super Smash’ getting played between December to February every year, overlapping with the Big Bash.
Fortunately, we will still be able to watch New Zealand internationals Colin Munro (Perth Scorchers) and Adam Milne (Sydney Thunder) this summer.