Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Cricket Australia could stand in the way of Chris Lynn's participation in the ILT20 while the challenge the BBL faces recruiting overseas talent has been laid bare after headline acts from the overseas draft, including Alex Hales and James Vince, were unveiled as signings for the new league which runs head-to-head with the BBL in January.
Another 10 overseas players who have previously played in the BBL but have not nominated for the draft, including Andre Russell, have also signed on to the UAE league with more expected in the coming days as well as announcements of signings to the new South Africa league.
He does not have a BBL deal having been let go by Brisbane Heat but Adelaide Strikers have shown some interest. If he were to sign a BBL deal it would be difficult for him to get a no-objection certificate (NOC) to play in the UAE and CA confirmed that it had not received a NOC request from any player thus far and would prioritise the needs of Australian cricket.
"Cricket Australia has not received any applications for No Objection Certificates pertaining to a player's participation in any overseas competitions for the upcoming season," a CA spokesperson said.
"Our guiding principle remains the prioritisation and protection of Australia's domestic summer of cricket and the interests of the game overall. As such, NOCs are generally only issued for the period after the Australian season has finished."
Lynn would need an NOC to play in the UAE even if he did not sign up for the BBL because Australia would be considered his home board, but it is understood that any move to block him from playing could be a restraint of trade under Australian law. Shane Watson previously played in the Bangladesh Premier League in 2019-20 without a NOC having retired from the BBL the previous year.
It's understood that Lynn's management, the Australian Cricketers' Association and the UAE league are aware of CA's position.
The other players to have nominated for both the BBL draft and signed to the ILT20 are: Evin Lewis, Akeal Hosein, Ravi Rampaul, and Sherfane Rutherford (from West Indies); Bhanuka Rajapaksa (from Sri Lanka); Dan Lawrence, Jamie Overton, Richard Gleeson, Liam Dawson, and Benny Howell (from England); David Wiese (from Namibia); Noor Ahmad (from Afghanistan), Blessing Muzarabani and Sikandar Raza (from Zimbabwe).
Meanwhile, Russell, Dawid Malan, Sunil Narine, Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Tom Banton, Colin Ingram, Ben Duckett and Saqib Mahmood are the other players who have previously played in the BBL but have not opted for the draft, instead heading straight to the UAE.
CA had hoped that the new overseas draft, which will take place for the first time on August 28, would help attract more overseas talent to the BBL with a AUD$340,000 (US$237,000 approx.) salary on offer for the top platinum picks.
But it is looking increasingly likely that many of the most sought-after picks are only going to be available for the first half of the tournament which will see BBL teams think long and hard about taking them given they will need to use close to 10% of the $AUD1.9 million salary cap and might only be available for a handful of games.
The BBL begins on December 13 and runs to February 4 while ILT20 runs from January 6 to February 12. Dates for the South Africa T20 league are set to be announced in the coming days but it will likely run in a similar timeframe to the ILT20. Liam Livingstone, who will likely be a platinum pick in the BBL, is expected to be one of those heading to South Africa.
CA and the BBL have been trumped by the contracts on offer in the UAE and South Africa, something that was forecast by Ricky Ponting and Usman Khawaja last month. The ILT20 is offered up to US$450,000 (approx AUD$650,000) while South Africa is understood to have offered a minimum of US$300,000 (approx AUD$430,000).
Apart from Lynn, the BBL is likely to retain Australia's high-profile players in part due to their contractual obligations and their desire to continue to play for Australia, as Adam Zampa recently articulated, although it remains to be seen if all take deals. Only Mitchell Starc has so far confirmed he won't participate, instead opting to rest.
CA's contracts mean that their international players are unable to participate in overseas leagues without NOCs but the contracts on offer in the ILT20 and South Africa, as well as the top contract to platinum picks in the BBL overseas draft, has caused some angst amongst Australia's best players given their BBL deals fall well short of those numbers. Warner is likely to earn something similar to a BBL platinum pick on a one-off basis while others will have to play on standard contracts for this season before a new MOU is negotiated between CA and the Australian Cricketers Association for season 2023-24 and beyond.