BBL Draft FAQ: Your questions answered

Draft explainer: How clubs will recruit overseas stars in BBL | 12

What is the Overseas Player Draft?

New this year, the Overseas Player Draft will see the BBL clubs take turns to pick from a pool of available international players to play for the club in BBL | 12.

In the previous 11 seasons of the KFC Big Bash League, clubs would negotiate directly with the international players and their agents themselves.

Now, all overseas men’s players who want to feature in the tournament will nominate for the draft and be allocated into certain salary bands (more on that below). Clubs will then take turns (the order of the draft is explained below as well) to pick which overseas players they want in their squad for this season.

When is the draft?

A date for the draft will be announced shortly. Broadcast details are also yet to be finalized but will have you covered with all the latest news and updates ahead of the event.

Why is it happening?

The No.1 objective of the BBL Draft is to recruit the best available international T20 players into the competition. The Big Bash has copped regular criticism over the past few seasons about its inability to attract global cricket’s biggest names due to competing T20 leagues and international scheduling in the December-January window. BBL officials believe directing overseas players to a draft pool is a way to get the world’s best talent to Big Bash clubs.

So how does the draft work?

The draft will consist of four rounds with each club required to make a minimum of two picks, but a maximum of three. At the end of the second round, the draft will follow a snake format, meaning the club that picked last in round two will get the first pick of round three.

The draft consists of four rounds and will follow a snake format from round two

Four rounds but only two or three picks?

Each team can field a maximum of three overseas players in their XI for Big Bash matches, so therefore clubs are only permitted to make three selections in the draft. Clubs may pass in certain rounds but must have made at least one pick by the end of round two and two picks by the end of round three. There is no minimum requirement for the number of overseas players in a BBL club’s XI, but with the League’s objective to get the world’s best T20 players into the tournament they have mandated that each club must pick at least two players in the draft.

Who has the No.1 pick?

It hasn’t been decided yet, but it will be one of the three clubs that finished outside the finals last season. The draft order will be determined by a weighted lottery system. Picks 1, 2 and 3 will go to the clubs that missed the finals last year (Melbourne Renegades, Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Stars) and picks 4-8 will go to the five finalists from BBL | 11 (Perth Scorchers, Sydney Sixers, Adelaide Strikers, Sydney Thunder and Hobart Hurricanes).

The Renegades, who finished bottom of BBL | 11, have a 50 per cent chance of getting the first pick, the Heat 33 per cent and the Stars 17 per cent. The Hurricanes, who finished fifth, will then have a 33 per cent chance of securing the fourth pick, the Thunder 27 per cent, the Strikers 20 per cent, the Sixers 13 per cent and the Scorchers 7 per cent.

The draft order will be determined by a weighted lottery system
The draft order will be determined by a weighted lottery system

Explain the different player bands?

There are three tiers which overseas players can nominate themselves for – gold, silver and bronze. Players may choose to be available only for gold selection, or for gold and silver, or for all three tiers. BBL officials will then elevate a certain number of players, who they determine are the most lucrative draft prospects, to platinum status. Only platinum players are eligible to be selected in the first round (picks 1-8). In the second round only gold and platinum level players can be selected, in the third round only gold and silver can be picked and in the final round only players from silver and bronze can be selected.

Can clubs retain players from last season?

Fear not Adelaide Strikers fans, each club is entitled to one retention pick. To be eligible for retention, an overseas player must have been named in the XI or as an X-factor for at least one game last season during BBL | 11. If a player entitled to be retained by a club is selected by another club before they have had their pick in that round, then the first club can use their retention pick to draft that player. However, if the club entitled to a retention pick has already made a selection in the same round, they are not allowed to use their retention pick.

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For example, if Rashid is picked by a club before the Strikers have selected in that round, the Strikers will be able to retain him, and the initial club will get to pick again. However, if the Strikers don’t select Rashid with their pick, a club that is picking after them could take him and the Strikers would not be able to use their retention option.

How much will overseas players be paid?

Cricket Australia has not publicly confirmed the exact salary amounts for each tier, but it has been reported that bronze level selections (the lowest salary band) will still earn a six-figure sum.

Can clubs trade picks?

No, this is currently not part of the draft model.

Can Australian players enter the draft? Will there be a draft for local players?

No, existing contracting rules still apply for domestic players. Many players have also previously signed multi-year deals, which would make it extremely difficult to hold a draft for local players. The next challenge for the League is to get Australia’s all-format stars into the competition with the likes of David Warner, Steve Smith, Pat Cummins. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood currently without BBL deals. Cricket Australia is working with the International Cricket Council to keep the January window post the Sydney Test free of international series for the national side in the next men’s Future Tours Program, which begins after next year’s ODI World Cup.

When do player nominations open?

They are open now! Players can nominate from today, June 22. The League will then release a public list of the overseas players who have nominated for the draft and what salary band they have nominated for.

Former West Indies captain Kieron Pollard will be a lucrative draft prospect of he nominates // Getty
Former West Indies captain Kieron Pollard will be a lucrative draft prospect if he nominates // Getty

Have any players nominated already?

Trent Woodhill, the BBL’s Player Acquisition consultant has been liaising with player managers across the globe and League officials say they are confident there is substantial interest in the Draft, but no nominations have been announced yet. The League will announce marquee nominations as the occur up until the draft.

Will drafted players be available for the entire season?

No, not necessarily. Due to competing T20 leagues across the globe and the scheduling of bi-lateral international series, it’s again anticipated overseas players will filter in and out of the Big Bash when their schedules allow. But players are required to state their availability when nominating for the draft and their availability may differ across each of the salary bands they nominate for. Obviously, if a player is available for the entire tournament, the more enticing a draft prospect they become.

BBL officials believe it’s better to have the world’s best T20 talent play at least part of the tournament than not at all. Given that players must nominate their availability before the draft, they will still get the entire salary amount allocated to their selected tier even if they won’t play the entire tournament – how clubs weigh up player availability will be an intriguing subplot to the draft process .

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Are there replacement players?

A club is permitted to have up to seven overseas players on their list for the season. If a club makes three draft picks, they can sign up to four players as international replacement players at the conclusion of the draft if that club’s selected players are only available for a portion of BBL | 12. Five replacement players can be signed if the club only makes two draft picks. Overseas players must have nominated for the draft to be eligible as replacement players. Any changes to a replacement player’s availability and salary band that was nominated before the draft must be approved by the BBL Technical Committee.

Can overseas players be drafted for more than one season?

No, overseas players will only be retained on a one-year contract. They will need to nominate for the draft again if they want to return in BBL | 13. Clubs would then have the choice of drafting a player for a second season using a retention pick if that player took the field during the previous season.

Global T20 superstar Andre Russell has featured in four BBL seasons
Global T20 superstar Andre Russell has featured in four BBL seasons

If a player who nominates themselves for gold tier selection only and is overlooked, can they then nominate for silver or bronze?

No, as players who nominate for a higher salary band can still be taken later in the draft. For example, a player who nominates for gold tier selection can be picked until round three of the draft and a player who nominates for silver can also be taken in round four. However, this process does not work in reverse – a player who is taken in round two must be paid at the gold tier salary even if they are also eligible for bronze tier selection. Players are recommended to nominate for all three bands if their availability differs for each as they are unable to change or add a nomination band after the nomination end date and during the draft.

Why not do an auction like the Indian Premier League?

BBL clubs have a salary cap of around $ 1.9m for their squad of 18 players, of which a portion of the cap is reserved for international players. Cricket Australia will also be contributing funds outside of the club salary cap for the top-level internationals, and this makes an auction unworkable. This type of draft is also common in other franchise competitions across the globe, such as England’s Hundred and the Pakistan Super League.

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