Captains pick WBBL, nominate for first ever draft

Skippers of the world’s top international teams have nominated for the inaugural Weber WBBL draft, set for September 3

Five international captains have nominated for the first ever Weber WBBL overseas player draft, reaffirming the league's status as the premier domestic T20 competition around the world.

New Zealand captain Sophie Devine and India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur have both put their names forward for the inaugural draft on September 3, as well as Suné Luus (South Africa), Hayley Matthews (West Indies), and Chamari Athapaththu (Sri Lanka).

The five captains represent the first list of nominees released by the league for the draft – which does not feature domestic players – with further names set to be announced "in the coming weeks".

As was the case in the inaugural KFC BBL draft last season, each WBBL club is entitled to one retention pick.

This could create a sizeable dilemma for the Melbourne Renegades, with all three of Harmanpreet, Matthews and Athapaththu eligible for retention having played for the 'Gades in recent years.

White Ferns star Devine, currently the fourth-ranked T20I batter in the world, has been a Perth Scorchers mainstay in recent seasons and is also eligible for retention, and would appear a strong chance to remain in orange.

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Luus, who led her team all the way to this year's T20 World Cup final against Australia, is the only member of the quintet not eligible for retention, having not played Big Bash cricket since WBBL|04 with the Brisbane Heat.

Cricket Australia's General Manager of Big Bash Leagues Alistair Dobson said they were "thrilled" by the nominations.

"These players have not only excelled as international captains but have also left an indelible mark on the game of cricket and we are excited at the prospect of these players showcasing their talents in the upcoming WBBL season," Dobson said.

"We thank these players for making themselves available for the upcoming season and look forward to announcing more nominations for the Big Bash Overseas Player Drafts in the coming weeks."

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In the previous eight seasons of the Weber WBBL, clubs would negotiate directly with international players and their agents.

Now, all overseas players who want to feature in the tournament must nominate for the draft, with clubs set to take turns selecting the players they want in their squad for WBBL|09.

Sydney Thunder recently secured pick No.1 for the draft via a weighted lottery system, with the Renegades and Scorchers drawn for picks two and three respectively.

No overseas players from WBBL|08 were on multi-year contracts, leaving clubs and the league with a clean slate for the inaugural draft.

Foreign players have nominated for the draft across three tiers; gold (attracting a salary of $90,000), silver ($65,000) or bronze ($40,000) tiers.

Ahead of the draft, league officials will elevate select players who they determine are the most enticing draft prospects to a platinum tier ($110,000).

In announcing the five nominations, the League provided further information about retention eligibility for both the women's and men's competitions, with players deemed eligible if they:

  • - Have been in a Big Bash team squad for a minimum of two seasons and haven't been contracted to another team since
  • - Have been in a Big Bash team squad the previous season
  • - Were in a team squad last season but did not play in the starting 13 and have been approved by the Big Bash Technical Committee
  • - Are otherwise approved by the Big Bash Technical Committee due to exceptional circumstances.