Australia consider domestic revamp
Cricket Australia will consider the introduction of a draft to give young players more opportunities and increase competitiveness in domestic cricket.
The board's general manager of team performance, Pat Howard, will meet representatives from the states, the Australian Cricketers' Association and board members in Sydney on Thursday to discuss better distribution of talent across the country and methods to keep young cricketers from being lured by other sports.
"We're not after all athletes but we want to make sure we keep the cricketers. I'm open to things like drafts," Howard was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald. "We're going to throw a whole heap of things on the table."
It would be a landmark change to cricket in Australia, which is based around state loyalties, apart from the Big Bash League. Among the things to be discussed will be the number of rookie contracts each state has on offer.
"Should we look at how we deal with rookies, by increasing the number of contracts or making sure there is an opportunity there for a long period and a better offer?" Howard said.
"We introduced BBL rookies last year to give those talented kids an opportunity at the back end of the squad. We think that was a good start but we think we've got to have a mechanism there for when a kid is 17, 18, 19 and maybe getting a draft offer and a contract from another sport that we've got something equally as compelling.
"We've got 160-odd contracted spots and [other sports] have significantly more than that. But our view is in cricket you've got the longest career span, you can play for your country and you've got the highest average wage ... it's well into the $300,000s, and that's without the IPL. So we think we've got a really attractive offer, but we've obviously got to be very competitive."
Howard said the board wanted to ensure that the leading domestic players in Australia got frequent opportunities instead of being kept out of already strong teams.
"We want the top 150-odd contracted players in the country playing and we want them spread around the nation and making sure that competitiveness is there. We see it happen occasionally - the Cowans and Birds head off to Tasmania, Pete Forrest headed to Queensland and Ryan Harris moved to Queensland. But we've got an opportunity to get that talent spread and make sure that competition at domestic level is very competitive."