A Big Bash League (BBL) overseas player draft has been pushed back another year, with uncertainty surrounding hotel quarantine forcing Cricket Australia (CA) to postpone the event.
- Uncertainty about international travel contributed to the decision to push back the introduction of a draft
- The BBL finals will return to a late January timeslot
- Cricket Australia wants more of its specialist T20 players involved in the BBL ahead of next year’s World Cup
The plan for overseas talent to be spread across the competition via a draft mechanism has been shelved, with officials now looking to introduce the system for the 2022/23 season.
“We really like the idea of a draft for overseas players and it’s something that remains high on our priority list,” BBL general manager Alistair Dobson said.
“But we’re acknowledging there is a whole list of complexities and challenges around international travel.
“And there is a need for our clubs and players to have some certainty around the contracting landscape at the moment.
“So we made the call to park it for another season. Instead we’ll work one-on-one with clubs to recruit the best overseas talent possible.”
The draw for this summer’s BBL was released on Wednesday, with key features including the return of finals to the January school holiday window for the first time in five years.
Australia’s specialist limited overs players will also be available for the entire BBL, giving them a crucial chance to play the short format of the game ahead of the men’s T20 World Cup to be held in Australia late next year.
Australia’s lack of frontline experience in men’s T20 cricket is a talking point at CA.
The Australian men’s team has recorded three straight losses to the far more experienced West Indies to kick off the five-match series being played in the Caribbean.
While Australia’s three frontline quicks — Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood — along with David Warner and Steve Smith will miss the majority of the BBL, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa and others will have an uninterrupted run.
The shifting of the tournament to a January finish is seen as crucial, after organisers were accused of dragging the event in recent years.
Altogether 12 double-headed fixtures will be played, as well as a triple-header to round out the regular season on January 19.
All matches are at this stage scheduled to be played in a home-and-away format rather than hubs, beginning with the Sydney Sixers hosting Melbourne Stars on December 5.
The first Sydney derby will also be played on Boxing Day at the Sydney Showgrounds and while there is a Christmas Eve match in Hobart, no match is scheduled for Christmas Day.