Two sporting legends gone far too soon.
With more and more T20 leagues operating around the world in the Big Bash window, it’s hoped a new draft system will help Australian franchises lock in big-name international stars for the domestic competition.
The BBL released a statement on Wednesday to confirm a draft system will be in place for the 12th edition of the men’s tournament.
The draft, to be held in the coming months will give clubs the chance to lock in up to three overseas players for their squads.
It was one of the major issues the tournament had in recent years. Through no fault of their own, COVID made the Big Bash a glorified domestic competition with hardly any internationals.
Teams struggled to field sides last season as COVID protocols played havoc.
It was great for young players getting a chance to show what they’ve got, but not so great for TV networks wanting mega ratings.
Nominations have already opened for the draft to try and lure the big names.
“BBL12 is shaping up as the most hotly anticipated season yet, with the best of the Big Bash on display on and off the field. At the forefront of this will be the Draft, which elevates the recruitment of overseas players to a new level,” Cricket Australia’s GM of Big Bash Leagues Alistair Dobson said.
“The Draft is designed to attract the best available players, excite fans for the upcoming season and provide new opportunities for Clubs and the League. We look forward to announcing the first group of nominations soon.
“We’d like to thank our Clubs and the Australian Cricketers’ Association for working with us on building the Draft and look forward to the event itself.”
The BBL 12 Draft is the primary way for Clubs to recruit their overseas players for the upcoming season.
Player nominations & categories
Players from around the world are now able to nominate for the Draft via an online nomination portal, including their availability for part or all of the tournament.
There will be four categories in which players can be selected on Draft night: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. Salaries for each category have been set at globally competitive rates, with Platinum the highest player payment.
The League is engaging in active conversations with players and agents worldwide and will announce further player nominations over the coming weeks.
The Draft order will be decided via a weighted lottery.
The three teams to miss the Finals in BBL 11 will be entered in the first weighted lottery to determine selections one, two and three.
The five finalists from last season will then be drawn for selections four to eight.
The Draft will consist of four rounds with one pick per Club in each.
Clubs may elect to pass in certain rounds, but each Club must pick a minimum of two and maximum of three players by the completion of round four.
Round one is for Platinum players only and will follow the draft order drawn via the above method. Round two will follow the same order as round one, after which rounds three and four will follow a snaking order.
Each club is entitled to one Retention Pick to be used in any round of the Draft.
A player is eligible for retention if they have played a match for that Club the previous season.
Total players & replacements
Each Club’s BBL squad will comprise of 18 players, including two or three overseas players from the Draft and the remainder being domestic players.
After the Draft, Clubs will be able to contract up to five replacement overseas players. A player must have nominated for the Draft to be an eligible replacement overseas player, unless approved by the League.
The one question that’s not answered in the explainer is how much money will be on the line to attract these big stars.
Salary bands/caps are yet to be confirmed.
It appears as though Cricket Australia is testing the waters first with the nomination period before it decides on what remuneration will be on offer.
According to cricket.com.au, CA officials want the stars even if it’s just for a portion of the tournament before they choose to go elsewhere.
Speaking on SEN, Adam Gilchrist questioned whether an Australian draft will be successful.
“There’s talk of increasing payment to make it more enticing (for overseas players),” Gilchrist said.
“Still, there might be players who are a bit reticent to throw their name in not knowing which franchise or which team they’re going to end up at.”