Strikers strengthen draft hand in Agar trade

Adelaide trade right-arm quick to Sydney Thunder in league's first ever draft pick exchange involving a player

Adelaide Strikers have strengthened their KFC BBL|14 Draft position as the club looks to ensure they have the best pick available should they successfully secure superstar spinner Rashid Khan under the league's new overseas direct signing rule.

In a league first trade deal involving a player and an exchange of draft picks, fast bowler Wes Agar has been traded to Sydney Thunder with the two clubs also exchanging second-round picks.

While the BBL|14 Draft order is yet to be determined, the Strikers have obtained the Thunder's higher second round selection (pick 9-12 pending a weighted lottery earmarked for June) in exchange for Agar and Adelaide's second round selection (pick 13-16).

It means the Strikers – who finished third last season after beating Perth Scorchers in the Eliminator before losing to the eventual champions Brisbane Heat – have a chance of improving their draft position by a maximum of seven spots (should the Thunder draw position one and the Strikers eight) and a minimum of one (should the Thunder draw position four and the Strikers five).

The Thunder have a 40 per cent chance of receiving pick one (and nine) after finishing last in BBL|13.

It's understood the Strikers want to pick as early as possible in round two to get the best player available in the likelihood they nominate their platinum round selection to sign Rashid directly.

"We understand Wes' desire for a fresh opportunity at Sydney Thunder and wish him all the best with the move," said Shaun Williams, Strikers' interim general manager of cricket.

"We are pleased we were able to improve our draft position as part of this trade ahead of the BBL|14 Draft later this year."

The BBL draft order is determined by a weighted lottery with the four non-finalists from the previous season in the running to receive the first four picks, while the four finalists have a chance of picks 5-8.

The first round of the draft follows a linear order before the 'snake' format is deployed from the start of the second round, meaning whoever picks last in the second round (pick 16) also has the first selection of the third round (pick 17).

The Afghanistan T20 captain is one of the most sought-after players on the franchise circuit and could command a hefty sum above the $420,000 platinum retainer despite his long history with the Strikers.

The leg-spinner missed last Big Bash season – where he was retained by the Strikers after Melbourne Stars attempted to poach him with pick one of the draft – due to a back injury that required surgery.

Rashid dazzles for Strikers with sensational BBL|11

Rashid has played with the Strikers every other season since their BBL|07 championship triumph and is the club's all-time leading wicket-taker with 98.

He has again stated he is considering skipping the Big Bash this summer over Cricket Australia's decision to postpone their T20 series against Afghanistan scheduled for August, but the Strikers remain optimistic of securing his signature on a multi-year deal for BBL|14.

Announced earlier this month, CA will permit each club to sign one overseas player to a maximum three-year deal outside the draft.

Clubs still need to nominate a pick tier (platinum, gold, silver or bronze) their direct signing will be allocated to. Their salary each season will also be determined by the existing bands (below) or at a negotiated price above the platinum rate, which was $420,000 per season for men's players in BBL|13.

Draft salary bands

Platinum $110k $420k
Gold $90k $300k
Silver $65k $200k
Bronze Up to $40k Up to $100k

Trading Agar allows the Strikers to free up salary cap space, as well as improve their draft position in the second round should they nominate their first-round platinum pick for their direct signing.

Big Bash draft rules require each club to have a pick available in each of the four draft rounds (regardless of if they pass), which is why the exchange of second-round picks was necessary.

Should the Strikers not be able to secure Rashid, they could also use their direct signing to secure the return of English allrounder Jamie Overton who was the club's leading wicket-taker last season with 16.

Agar, who spent eight years at the Strikers since his T20 debut in January 2017, was left on the bench for the second half of last season during Adelaide's stunning surge from the bottom of the table into the finals with a two-pronged leg-spin attack of Cameron Boyce and Lloyd Pope preferred.

The 27-year-old then received a shock call up to Australia's squad for the third T20I against the West Indies in Perth in February and is currently playing county cricket for Kent.

Agar – who played two ODIs in the West Indies in 2021 – said he was "stoked for the opportunity" to join the Thunder after playing just four games for the Strikers in BBL|13.

Trading for Agar – who joins the club on a two-year deal – adds depth to the Thunder's pace stocks featuring his South Australian teammate Nathan McAndrew, Daniel Sams, Liam Hatcher and young quick Will Salzmann.

Trent Copeland, Sydney Thunder general manager, added: "He's a proven performer in this format and one of the Big Bash's most likeable guys.

Every wicket from the Thunder's 35-ball capitulation

"We want to bring in players who will ultimately perform and win games for the club, but it's also vitally important for us to attract good people who want to be a part of what we are building here."

He finishes his time at the Strikers as the club's third leading wicket-taker of all-time (69 at 24.10) behind Rashid and Peter Siddle (91), with his career-best an unforgettable 4-6 in their rout of the Thunder for 15 in BBL|12.

You'll want the best seat in the house for this season's action! Priority access for tickets opens June 4 – Register now