So, when's it on?
The competition begins on December 13, the day after the second Australia-West Indies Test in Adelaide is completed, with Sydney Thunder taking on Melbourne Stars in Canberra. It runs upto February 4. Through the regular season there are games every day other than Christmas Day.
Hang on, January. Isn't there a lot on?
You could say that. There is now a crunch of T20 leagues during the month with the inaugural editions of both the SA20 and ILT20 taking place. That has put huge demand on leading overseas players and both the rival leagues pay more than the BBL, although the gap was closed somewhat by the player draft earlier in the year. Still, a lot of the overseas players in the BBL will depart for those other two tournaments in early January.
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Adam Zampa and Jason Sangha named BBL captains
Remind me of the structure
It's 61 games in all, with the teams playing each other twice, home-and-away, during the regular season. It has been a challenge to keep the show on the road in the last two Covid-19 summers, but things should be back to normal this time. There is then the five-teams final structure which runs like this: Eliminator (4th vs 5th); Qualifier (1st vs 2nd); Knockout (3rd vs winner of Eliminator); Challenger (Loser to Qualifier vs Winner of Knockout); Final (Winner of Qualifier vs Winner of Challenger).
Do power surge, X-Factor and Bash Boost still exist?
One out of three. The Power Surge remains (and was also brought into the WBBL this season) but the X-Factor, which allowed a player to be subbed into the game at the 10-over mark of the first innings, and Bash Boost, which provided an extra point for the side ahead at the 10-over mark of the second innings, have been scrapped. Because of that, the points structure will revert to two for a win, one for a tie and no result
Will the Aussie players be available?
Yes…and no. The good news, if you want to term it that way, is because South Africa pulled out of their one-day series (to prioritise their own T20 league), Australia's white-ball only players will be available for the entire tournament. So that means the likes of Aaron Finch (Melbourne Renegades), Marcus Stoinis (Melbourne Stars), Adam Zampa (Melbourne Stars), Josh Inglis (Perth Scorchers) and Tim David (Hobart Hurricanes) will be on show from start to finish, unless any of them are included in the Test squad to tour India. Sadly Glenn Maxwell may miss the entire competition due to his broken leg and Mitchell Marsh has been ruled out after ankle surgery.
How do the squads shape up?
This is as of December 10 and still subject to changes
Hang on, Faf, Dre Russ…didn't they get ignored at the draft?
Indeed they did. But there have been plenty of moving parts since then. Andre Russell will make a cameo four-game appearance for Melbourne Renegades as a part-replacement for Liam Livingstone who was the No. 1-draft pick before being called into England's Test squad (and now he's injured in any event). Faf du Plessis has been signed by Scorchers as a replacement for Laurie Evans, the English batter, who failed a dope test last month. He will depart for the South Africa league in January.
Any young guns we should be watching?Yes, plenty. While there is debate around the quality of the BBL there are a lot of talented cricketers in the Australian system. Just to pick out a few you can look at Josh Philippe (Sydney Sixers), offpsinner Todd Murphy (Sydney Sixers), Sydney Thunder's new captain Jason Sangha, the 'Wild Thing' Lance Morris (Perth Scorchers) who has just earned a Test call-up, allrounder Will Sutherland (Melbourne Renegades) in the midst of a breakout season, 20-year-old batter Campbell Kellaway (Melbourne Stars) and Hayden Kerr (Sydney Sixers), one of last season's standout performers.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo