Pooran, Rizwan pull out in BBL draft blow

Gun keeper-bats now unavailable in Sunday's KFC BBL draft after both had been listed as 'platinum' picks

The Big Bash has been dealt a blow just days out from the KFC BBL|13 draft with two of the biggest names pulling out of the tournament.

The League confirmed today that West Indies star Nicholas Pooran and Pakistan's Mohammad Rizwan have both withdrawn from Sunday's draft.

Pooran and Rizwan, both explosive wicketkeeper-batters, had been elevated to Platinum status and were expected to be highly sought after. It's unclear why they have pulled out at the eleventh hour, but neither were expected to now be available for the entire season.

Pooran is contracted to a franchise in the UAE's ILT20 competition, which is scheduled to begin on January 19 – the same day as the BBL finals.

Rizwan, who is set to star for Pakistan in this summer's Test series against Australia, would not have been available for the BBL until after that series, with Pakistan then facing T20s against New Zealand from January 12.

The WBBL has also been hit with South Africa star Dane van Niekerk withdrawing from the inaugural draft as she continues to recover from an injury picked up while playing in this year's Hundred tournament in the UK.

The updates come as the League published the indicative availability windows for the nearly 500 players across both leagues that have nominated for this year's draft.

The withdrawals leave 495 players across the two competitions available to be selected on Sunday in a televised event.

Of the 23 remaining BBL players elevated to Platinum status for the draft, only England quick Tymal Mills has full availability for the regular season and finals.

England's T20 team will be involved in a tour of the Caribbean with the final match on December 22, while the South African T20 competition – due to start on January 10 – and the UAE league means the majority of players have given an availability of "6-9 games".

The BBL Platinum list was dominated by England players, and players arriving from the Caribbean tour and then heading to South Africa may play as few as four games.

Limited availability will also curtail player's earnings. Only Mills is eligible to receive the full Platinum tier salary of AUD$420,000 as a player must be available for the entire tournament, including finals, to receive that amount.

Players who play all 10 regular season games (such as those then heading to the UAE tournament) are eligible to receive $400,000, while players who play between one and eight matches will pocket $360,000.

Availability for the WBBL is much less of an issue, with that tournament having carved out its own slice of the women's calendar.

Of the 25 Platinum players available in the WBBL draft, only New Zealand's Amelia Kerr has less than full availability, indicating she will miss the opening rounds of the tournament before being available for up to 10 games plus any finals.

Indeed, across the 122 nominations for the WBBL draft, only seven players have indicated less than full availability, and every player has made themselves available for finals.

In the BBL, nearly three quarters of the 373 players included for Sunday's draft have indicated they would be available to play finals.

Melbourne Stars, who finished last in BBL|12, hold the first pick in this year's BBL draft after being drawn first in a weighted lottery last month, with Adelaide Strikers and Hobart Hurricanes awarded picks No.2 and 3 respectively.

The Sydney Thunder will pick first for the WBBL draft ahead of the Melbourne Renegades and Perth Scorchers.

Each of the league's eight clubs are granted one retention pick for both the BBL and WBBL drafts for an overseas player that either played for them the previous season or for two consecutive seasons and hasn't played for another club since.

The retention pick must be used in the same round where an opposing club attempts to poach the player.

Clubs must select a minimum of two, and maximum of three overseas players in total from the four rounds of the draft, with each club required to pass in at least one round.

WBBL clubs have the option of adding a third overseas player from outside the draft that has made a 'direct nomination', a mechanism unique to the women's league.

That path removes the uncertainty of a draft for the player, but it comes at a cost – a player making a 'direct nomination' can only be paid a maximum of 95 per cent of the silver tier, meaning their salary will be restricted to $61,750 for WBBL|09.

The players who have opted for this approach are England trio Tammy Beaumont, Sophia Dunkley and Amy Jones, South Africa pair Mignon du Preez and Lizelle Lee, and New Zealand’s Suzie Bates.

Both the WBBL and BBL drafts will be held on Sunday, September 3, in a televised event on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports, with the WBBL draft taking place from 5.30pm AEST, ahead of the BBL draft from 7pm.