Earlier this week, the Big Bash League (BBL) announced that it would be implementing an international player draft ahead of the 2022-23 season in a bid to ensure the presence of more high-profile players in the tournament.
As details of the new international player draft emerge, it has been revealed that each club is entitled to one retention pick, ideally to accommodate those international names already in the BBL.
To be eligible for retention, an international player must have been named in the playing XI or as the 'X-Factor' for at least one game in BBL 11 (2021-22).
Some international stars have both performed for and become the face of their franchise. Up to 38 international players are eligible to be retained by their franchises.
We take a look at the players that should be retained.
#1 Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan's status as one of the world's best T20 bowlers (ranked fourth in the world in the ICC T20 bowling rankings) makes it impossible to keep the Afghanistan superstar out of the retention equation.
Khan has been building a long association with the Adelaide Strikers and is potentially the catalyst for bringing in the retention rule in the draft. He has played for Adelaide since the 2017-18 BBL, where he was also the competition's leading wicket-taker in his first year.
In last season's edition of the BBL, he was the fourth-highest wicket-taker (20 wickets), while only averaging a meager 13.95 from 44 overs bowled.
It's a no-brainer.
#2 Alex Hales
Alex Hales is one of the Big Bash League's most important international faces, having bounced around from franchise to franchise from 2012-2015 (Renegades, Strikers, Hurricanes). But since 2019/-20, he has found a home at the Thunder. Hales is known for his ability to blast the ball to all parts of the ground.
He was the BBL's leading run-scorer in 2020-21 with 543 runs after finishing second-best in 2019-20 with 576 runs. In 2021-22 he finished with 383 runs.
#3 Colin Munro
Colin Munro is building a solid connection with the Scorchers faithful, with that being a big reason for the retention rule. He has played in Perth since 2020 and has played a key role in the side's recent successes.
Having smashed a century in BBL 2021-22, Munro's overall run tally of 390 and average of 43.33 was among the best dozen in the competition.
#4 James Vince
Having lined up in the Magenta kit since 2018-19, James Vince has so far had a colourful career with the Sixers.
The highlight of his stint with the Sixers was an outstanding 2020-21 campaign where he scored a mammoth 537 runs. In that season, he was critical in the qualifying final with his 98*, before steering the Sixers to victory in the final with a superb knock of 95 runs. He struggled in comparison in 2021-22, with an average of just 18.62 from nine games.
There is no clear standout for the Melbourne Renegades with Zahir Khan and Mohammad Nabi likely to go head-to-head if a retention pick is used at the Renegades.
Meanwhile, cross-town rivals Melbourne Stars will be in a similar position, tossing and turning between Haris Rauf and Andre Russell, who both made sharp impacts in limited stints last season. Rauf's return in 2021-22 was slightly more valuable after a solid nine-wicket tally from five matches, but Russell's big name brand and potential firepower could turn a game his side's way.
While the Hobart Hurricanes and Brisbane Heat were unable to extract much value from their overseas imports in BBL 11 (2021-22), they are the most likely to not use a retention pick if any club at all heads down that path.