Faf, Dre Russ, Pollard unsigned as clubs favour availability

Big name trio miss out on selection in the inaugural draft as Big Bash clubs look to maximise the number of games their overseas stars will play in BBL|12

A few of world cricket's biggest names have been overlooked in the inaugural BBL draft with clubs favouring availability over star power.

Melbourne Renegades took Liam Livingstone with the first ever Big Bash draft pick but the likes of West Indies duo Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard, and South Africa's Faf du Plessis missed out on selection.

Russell, Pollard and du Plessis would have only been available for the first half of KFC BBL|12 before jetting off to rival T20 leagues in the UAE and South Africa, with players such as David Willey (selected by Sydney Thunder with pick seven), Joe Clarke (pick 10 to the Melbourne Stars) and Colin Munro (pick 11 to the Brisbane Heat) available for the entire tournament.

Perth Scorchers, who sensationally passed with their first-round pick, also prioritised availability by retaining English batter Laurie Evans in round two after the Sydney Sixers tried to nab him at pick 12.

The reigning champions head coach, Adam Voges, told cricket.com.au player availability was top of the list and they were really keen to get Evans back to the club following a sensational BBL|11 that included a player-of-the-match 76no off 41 balls to down the Sixers in the last season's final.

"We knew that having a batter of his quality available for the whole duration of the Big Bash who is flexible enough to bat anywhere in our top six was really important," Voges said.

"It was a really tough one because the list of platinum players was really strong but we were really fixed in wanting a top-order batter who was available the whole time and that probably didn't present for us in the platinum list.

"We were pretty settled on Laurie coming into the draft but we had to think on our feet a little bit.

"Colin Munro has played with us for the last few years and we had a tough choice to make after Brisbane Heat took him so we'll be sad to see him go, it won't quite be the same with him in teal."

Image Id: F29019D1701841BE8C07FDB69EF4C271 Image Caption: Faf du Plessis went unsigned in the BBL|12 Draft // Getty

The Scorchers also selected Phil Salt with pick 19 who they expect to be available until mid-January and could replace Kurtis Patterson at the top of the order after he returned to Sydney and left-arm quick Tymal Mills with pick 30, who also played for the club last season.

"We've obviously got a really strong domestic list … (Salt and Mills) we think will leave in mid-January but at the same time, we welcome back Cameron Green who we've just signed," Voges said.

"So having him available at the back end shifted our focus with our last two picks a little bit knowing that he can both bat and bowl for us."

Image Id: F524C6E0C9D24EF69DDD11E86460C277

England's Jason Roy and West Indies veteran Dwayne Bravo were the other platinum-level players not selected.

Thunder assistant coach Shawn Bradstreet said Willey being available for the full tournament was an important factor in their decision making along with his great experience in the BBL over the years with the Scorchers.

Adelaide Strikers coach Jason Gillespie said they also prioritised availability with their final two selections (Kiwi allrounder Colin de Grandhomme with pick 14 and English batter Adam Hose with pick 20) knowing that Afghanistan superstar Rashid Khan, who they secured with their retention pick in round one, would only be available for the first eight games of the tournament.

The Strikers expect De Grandhomme, who is currently battling a heel injury that has kept him out of the New Zealand side, and Hose to both be available for the entire 14-game regular season and the finals but the Black Caps do have a Test and ODI tour of Pakistan slated for December-January.

"It sounds like a lot of the teams were the same – prioritise availability over 14 games," Gillespie told cricket.com.au after the draft.

"I think the lesson out of this is big names have value but if they're only making themselves available for half the tournament then there is a chance that teams will go 'we'd rather role players who are available for the whole tournament'."

Stars coach David Hussey said while it may have eliminated a few players such as Russell, Pollard and du Plessis, their second and third picks were always going to be about availability.

"The platinum pick was always going to have limited availability – we're rapt to have Trent (Boult) – but the last two picks – gold and silver – were always going to be about availability for the whole tournament," Hussey told cricket.com.au.

The Stars also picked little-known English left-arm quick Luke Wood, who available for the entire tournament, as a silver player with pick 23.

The Renegades went the opposite way to most clubs with their three selections with Livingstone (pick one), Mujeeb ur Rahman (pick nine) and Akeal Hosein (pick 25) all leaving the Big Bash for rival leagues in early January.

Head coach David Saker said they considered Russell for their second-round pick but in the end their need for a spinner was greater.

"When you think of Andre Russell not getting picked up, it's 'wow' isn't it, he's an A-grade a player as you can get," Saker told cricket.com.au

Image Id: 6F0E065C8A1B4CAF8442BF037F9CF703 Image Caption: Russell was overlooked in Sunday's BBL|12 Draft // Getty

"Russell's a seriously powerful hitter, a good bowler, but it just didn't fit for us, we were looking for spin and that's what we went for.

"If Mujeeb had got matched (by the Heat) and our next bet Tom Curran had got matched (by the Sixers), we probably would have went for Andre.

"Every team wants the players to fit into their team and just because they're ranked platinum players, it doesn't mean they're the perfect fit and unfortunately those players probably didn't fit."

Click here for a full list of players to have nominated for the BBL|12 Draft.