Australian news June 27, 2011

Scramble for Twenty20 players set to begin

ESPNcricinfo staff

Hundreds of Australian cricketers will be chasing lucrative Twenty20 contracts over the next month as the Big Bash League teams begin to sign up players. While the Don Argus-led performance review tries to get to the bottom of Australia's Ashes debacle and slump to fifth on the ICC Test rankings, Cricket Australia's planning for the expanded Twenty20 tournament is in full swing.

The six states are this week finalising their contract lists for first-class and 50-over cricket for next summer, but only 14 to 18 players per state will be given a full contract, down from last year's number. Meanwhile, the eight city-based teams must each sign up 18 men, a process that will start this Thursday when the contract window begins.

The expansion of Twenty20 contracts and the decline in Australia's Test performance is a combination that has some coaches concerned. The Western Australia coach Mickey Arthur believes the bigger salary cap for Twenty20 sides compared to the state teams is the wrong way around for a country trying to climb the Test rankings, while Michael Clarke's mentor, Neil D'Costa, is worried that the focus on Twenty20 at junior levels could kill Test cricket in Australia.

Each of the eight teams must sign at least 14 players during the first Big Bash League contract window, which runs from June 30 to July 22. By December 9 - a week before the first match - they must have finalised a full roster of 18 players, meaning that 144 Twenty20 contracts will be sealed over the coming months.

The scrapping of the traditional state teams for the Twenty20 competition means that every player in the country is up for grabs, although the likelihood is that most players will remain in their home states. Sydney and Melbourne each have two teams that must be filled with talent, and every side can sign two international players, with scope to replace those men if their international commitments clash with the Big Bash League.

Cricket Australia has also announced that KFC will be the naming-rights sponsor for the tournament after signing a three-year deal.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Adrian on June 29, 2011, 9:26 GMT

    $1 million per club is far lower than the Indian Premier League. That in itself will cost this competition a lot.

  • Fazal on June 29, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    When test cricket in this country is heading towards disaster the ACB reckons this is the way to go by chanelling more money towards T20 & reducing the number of players elgible to play state cricket. No doubt the ACB has got it's priorities wrong & is heading in the wrong direction.Whilst the "Argus Review" committee is yet to release their recommendations trying to fix the problems it is not appropriate to make these decisions which sounds detrimental for the future of aussie cricket. By the time the report is released it may be too late to fix the mess that's been created by the ACB. I wonder why it's taken so long when the future of test cricket in this country depends on this report?

  • Prashant on June 29, 2011, 6:11 GMT

    Yes, test cricket is the better form and T20 is killing the real format but T20 is new and business friendly format. Not a lot of spectators watch tests, whether on tv or in ground but there are lot of spectators waiting for t20 competitions.

  • Andrew on June 29, 2011, 1:52 GMT

    CA has developed a "build it and they will come" mentality over this. I think it will be a debacle and damage test cricket in Australia. What's next? Replacing the Boxing Day test with a T20 "local derby" between the Melbourne Generics and the Melbourne Whatevers?

  • Andrew on June 27, 2011, 23:55 GMT

    I'm a bit underwhelmed!!!!

  • greig on June 27, 2011, 10:26 GMT

    And harry byrnes- howe from adelaide cos hes my mate!!!!

  • greig on June 27, 2011, 10:22 GMT

    someone sign micheal bright from sydney, hits a big ball!!!

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