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Melbourne Renegades hit by Liam Livingstone's England Test call-up

Any player who was in the original BBL draft and not picked up is eligible as a replacement

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Liam Livingstone was one of the biggest names to come out of the BBL draft  •  Getty Images

Liam Livingstone was one of the biggest names to come out of the BBL draft  •  Getty Images

Melbourne Renegades will have to adjust their plans for the start of the BBL after losing No.1 draft pick Liam Livingstone to his England Test call-up.
Livingstone found a place in the squad for the Pakistan tour in December, but Renegades still expect the allrounder to appear for them after the series and before he heads to the SA20. However, he will now likely have a maximum of six games with the Test series ending on December 21 and the South Africa tournament starting January 10.
There is a chance Livingstone could be available for the Christmas Eve game against Hobart Hurricanes followed by five more matches.
Renegades, who had first pick in the draft after finishing bottom last season, will be able to sign a replacement player for Livingstone - something they already needed to do for the latter stages once he left for South Africa - with any player who was nominated in the draft and not originally picked eligible to be brought in.
It is also understood that the league retains the ability to sanction a signing from outside the draft pool if they are viewed as being of the calibre that would be beneficial to the tournament.
The loss of Livingstone, who was not considered a likely Test candidate when the BBL draft took place, for the beginning of the competition is a blow after the league went to huge lengths to get the draft off the ground in late August. The BBL is facing a considerable squeeze in January with the emergence of the SA20 and ILT20 which had seen a number of players only make themselves available for part of the BBL.
The draft itself also threw up the outcome of a number of the platinum players - including Faf du Plessis and Andre Russell - being overlooked as clubs favoured availability over marketability, although the final result was still a reasonably strong list of overseas names.
Players selected in the draft will be paid a flat-fee based on the category they came from, but with Livingstone's availability having changed since he was selected his platinum figure of AU$340,000 will now be on a pro-rata basis for the number of games he remains available for, with Renegades able to use the difference to fund their replacement.
"We've been aware of this possibility for a little while now and have been working through Liam's availability and what's best for the Renegades," James Rosengarten, Renegades' general manager, said.
"We believe Liam can still have a big impact for us in BBL|12, and in our recent discussions, he's still looking forward to being part of our team, being back in the BBL and playing as many games as he can for our club following his international commitments. We'll continue to work with Liam over the coming weeks as to exactly how this looks.
"At the same time, we have already been working behind the scenes on finding the best player for our needs when Liam is unavailable. There are several world-class players who are now available to us during this period, and we will leave no stone unturned to give our team the best chance of success this season."
A league statement said: "As is the case in all T20 competitions, changing player availabilities are not unprecedented or unexpected. We are well prepared to assist all clubs to navigate changing international commitments for overseas players."
Other teams are also working through the exact availability of some of their overseas signings as more international series get locked in for December and January. Pakistan have confirmed their home matches against New Zealand, although that was a known tour when the draft took place. There remains a chance Hobart Hurricanes could lose Faheem Ashraf to the Test squad and Shadab Khan is likely to be away for the ODI series in mid-January.
However, the likely postponement of a brief Pakistan-West Indies series may provide extra availability of replacement players towards the latter end of the BBL.
The tournament begins on December 13 and runs until February 4. Following the cancellation of the Australia-South Africa ODI series in January more of Australia's multi-format players will be available after the Test matches finish although the main fast bowlers are not expected to take part while Steven Smith does not have a deal.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo