Perth Scorchers penalised for using central replacement player Brayden Stepien incorrectly
Move forced by injury, absence and Covid-19, as BBL locks in venues for finals
Perth Scorchers have been found guilty of breaching BBL contracting rules after using a central replacement player incorrectly during their loss to Adelaide Strikers on January 14, but will still finish top of the ladder as the BBL lock away their finals venues.
Scorchers called in a replacement player Brayden Stepien from the newly-created central pool to keep wicket for 14 overs during the Strikers match after Laurie Evans, who was initially picked to keep wicket, had suffered an injury. Scorchers were already missing Josh Inglis, who was with Australia's Test squad, while Cameron Bancroft was missing due to Covid.
At a CA Code of Conduct Commission hearing on Tuesday, Commissioner Alan Sullivan QC determined that Stepien was an ineligible player for the match, and that the decision to field Stepien was a breach of the rules.
Sullivan determined the penalty for Scorchers would be the deduction of their Bash Boost point earned on the day, but noted the unique and challenging circumstances of the current BBL season and the low impact of this breach. But Strikers were not awarded the Boost point.
Stepien was on standby for the game as a replacement player, but clubs need to officially add the replacement player to their squad list prior to the game to allow him to play. But Stepien was called upon to field despite not being added to Scorchers list.
Meanwhile, Scorchers have requested to host their finals at the Marvel Stadium in Docklands, as the BBL confirmed the first three finals will be held in Melbourne to minimise the impact of Covid-19. The Eliminator and Knockout will be both be held at the MCG on January 21 and 23 respectively, while the Qualifier will be held at the Marvel Stadium on January 22.
"The League's firm belief is that we must work together with our clubs to do all we can to protect the finals series using the lessons from the season so far," BBL General Manager Alistair Dobson said.
"As such, we have made the difficult decision to stage the first week of the finals series in Melbourne. This decision provides all participating clubs the best possible chance of participating in a finals match with the strongest squad available."
Should Scorchers win the Qualifier, they will also host the final at the Marvel Stadium. The Challenger and the Final will be held at the preferred home ground of the team that earns the right to host, but Scorchers are unable to play in Perth due Western Australia's border being closed.