Cricket Australia's ambitious plan of having an international player draft to rekindle interest in the Big Bash League (BBL) have been dealt a blow due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Buoyed by the success of the player draft model in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and The Hundred in England, Cricket Australia wished to employ the same for the 2020-21 edition of the BBL.
However, due to government restrictions in place regarding the arrival of international players in the country, Cricket Australia have postponed their player draft plans by at least another year.
The Head of BBL at Cricket Australia, Alistair Dobson said:
“The BBL has a history of innovation, and we’ve considered a number of options to add to the excitement and anticipation for the upcoming season.”
“Our commitment to attracting the best overseas players to the BBL is as high as ever and requires a tailored approach in today’s world, while a draft remains something we will strongly consider for future seasons.”
Does BBL's player draft plan have the unequivocal support of all the franchises?
The BBL's international player draft plan does not have the unanimous support of some of the participating franchises.
In fact, some of the BBL franchises are rather happy that the ambitious plan will not go ahead in the 2020-21 edition of the competition. The franchises have their own reasons for opposing the competition's proposed international player draft plan.
Some teams, like Adelaide, are of the opinion that the draft could undermine the hard work they have done in trying to build relationships with various overseas players.
In the current model of player recruitment in the BBL, the franchises are free to recruit their own players instead of going through a central draft that could generate more hype and interest. If this model goes away, it may be difficult for the franchises to hold on to their star overseas players for too long as other franchises would also be in the fray.
Nevertheless, Cricket Australia are committed to their ambitious plan and are likely to ignore regional concerns in this regard.
Cricket Australia feel that the BBL franchises often do not try to bring in big-name overseas players who are generally available for shorter durations. The franchises instead opt for lesser-known international names who are often available for the entirety of the competition.
The BBL's TV rights holders Channel 7 and Fox Sports, however, support Cricket Australia's vision and believe that the international player draft plan could attract the biggest overseas names in the game and will, in turn, only improve the global appeal of the competition.Published 25 Aug 2020, 11:49 IST