The BBL overseas draft is here: how will it work?
The pressure is on the BBL to get big-name players to revive the competition
BBL teams will no longer go out and search for their three overseas players privately. They will select a minimum of two or a maximum of three from a draft that will likely be held on a single day in August. The draft will only be for the overseas players. Domestic players will be contracted in the same way they always are.
Players get to nominate their price category and their availability in terms of the number of games they can play. The BBL will once again be a 14-game season plus finals and CA are realistic that not all overseas will be available for the whole competition. There will be a nomination window between June and August. Players will be put into four categories: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The players themselves can choose to enter the Gold, Silver, or Bronze band. Platinum players will be decided by the BBL based off the nominations and will be paid an estimated $AUD340,000. A significant portion of that will sit outside the $AUD1.9 million salary cap, with Cricket Australia topping up the deal via a marquee payment. That money is a flat rate and will be paid regardless of whether the player makes themselves available for six games or for 14. There are no match payments in the BBL, as players are contracted with set retainers.
There will be a weighted lottery to decide the order. The three teams who missed the finals last season - Melbourne Renegades, Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Stars - will enter a lottery for the first three draft picks. Renegades, who finished last, will get three chances to get the first draft pick, Heat two and Stars one. Here's another way to think of it: there are six balls in the first lottery and three of them are Renegades' giving them a 50% chance of first pick, whereas Stars, with one ball, only have 16.66% chance.
There will be four rounds of the draft with each team getting one pick per round. Clubs can pass if they don't want to pick in certain rounds but must pick a minimum of two or a maximum of three players by the completion of round four. Round one is for Platinum players only. In round two, teams can pick Platinum or Gold players. In round three, teams can select Gold or Silver players. In round four, teams can pick Silver or Bronze players. Teams do not have to select a Platinum player.
Yes, they can. But only one. This could be coined the "Rashid Khan rule". For example, Rashid has played his entire BBL career with Strikers but is almost certainly going to be a Platinum player and available to everyone in the first round. If Renegades get the first pick in the lottery and select Rashid, Strikers have the option to use their retention pick to keep him. Strikers would have to pay the same amount of money and they have to use their pick in the first round to retain him. Renegades would then get the opportunity to pick again. Players such as Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman at Heat, Alex Hales at Thunder and Haris Rauf at Stars could be retention picks given their strong links to the teams if they nominate in the draft.
No, once the draft order is set, it will remain that way.
Each team can contract up to four replacement overseas players (or five if they have only taken two players at the draft) if their picks in the draft become unavailable due to injury or international duty. There will be an additional $AUD50,000 replacement bonus available for clubs use outside of the salary cap to help recruit replacement players. However, replacement overseas players must have nominated for the draft and to be eligible for the $50,000 teams have to have selected a Platinum player. If a team picks two Platinum players they are eligible for $100,000 salary cap relief. Teams can't tell overseas players privately not to nominate for the draft and then contract them as replacements. They must have been available to all teams initially in the draft before being available as a replacement.
Yes. Clubs will have contract lists of 18 players comprising of 15 domestic Australian players and three overseas, although teams can have 16 locals and a minimum of two overseas. Any replacement overseas players are on top of that.
There is a possibility that Australian international players will be available for large portions of the upcoming BBL. Australia's limited-overs specialists will be available for the first half of the tournament and could be there throughout if the three-match ODI series against South Africa scheduled for January 12-17 does not go ahead. Australia's Test players will miss the first part of the tournament but will be available from January 9 at the conclusion of the Sydney Test against South Africa.
The BBL is in discussion with rights holders Channel Seven and Foxtel about televising the draft. Should neither of those networks opt to show it, the draft will likely be streamed online.
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo