League lifts embargo ahead of milestone WBBL season

A full analysis of where every WBBL|10 squad is at and what each club needs ahead of next season

Preparations for the milestone 10th season of the Women's Big Bash League officially ramp up from today with confirmation the league's contracting embargo has been lifted.

It comes after a new season structure was revealed earlier this week with the home-and-away stage reduced to a 10-match campaign in line with the men's competition.

Like the men's competition, the Weber WBBL|10 contracting window will begin with a week-long retention and trade period that runs until 12 noon next Friday (May 10) where clubs will be able to re-sign their players from last season, sign any Cricket Australia contracted player without a WBBL deal and execute a trade with another club.

Once the full contracting window is open on May 10, clubs will be allowed to poach out-of-contract players from rival clubs and sign one overseas player under the league's new multi-year contracting mechanism announced last month.

A club's primary squad for WBBL|10 must consist of 15 players by the commencement of the season, including a minimum of two overseas players selected via the draft but not including a pre-signed overseas player on a multi-year contract.

The lottery to determine the WBBL|10 Draft order has been earmarked for June with the draft proposed to again take place in September. 

Adelaide Strikers

WBBL|09 result: Champions (11 wins, 3 losses), defeated Brisbane Heat in the final


Most runs: Katie Mack (452)


Best strike rate (min 50 runs): Dani Gibson (147.43)


Most wickets: Amanda-Jade Wellington (23)


Best economy (min 10 overs): Darcie Brown (4.41)


Coach: Luke Williams


Spots filled on contract list: 8 out of 15


WBBL|10 squad so far: Jemma Barsby, Darcie Brown, Katie Mack, Tahlia McGrath (c), Bridget Patterson, Maddie Penna, Megan Schutt, Amanda-Jade Wellington


WBBL|09 local players off contract: Anesu Mushangwe, Courtney Neale, Annie O'Neil, Ella Wilson


WBBL|09 overseas players: Georgia Adams (England), Dani Gibson (England), Laura Wolvaardt (South Africa)

The two-time reigning champions are in an excellent position, with their biggest local names already locked in for WBBL|10, including Aussie stars Tahlia McGrath, Megan Schutt and Darcie Brown. Their depth is a strength – so much so, they did not even use all three of their overseas players on occasions last season. The unexpected move to hand Bridget Patterson the gloves proved a stroke of genius. With such a solid core of local talent, the overseas players they draft are the icing on the cake.

Brisbane Heat

WBBL|09 result: Runners-up (8wins, 6 losses), defeated by Adelaide Strikers in the final


Most runs: Grace Harris (501)


Best strike rate (min 50 runs): Laura Harris (211.53)


Most wickets: Jess Jonassen (24)


Best economy (min 10 overs): Georgia Voll (6.78)


Coach: Ashley Noffke


Spots filled on contract list: 5 out of 15


WBBL|10 squad so far: Laura Harris, Ellie Johnston, Jess Jonassen, Charli Knott, Georgia Redmayne


WBBL|09 local players off contract: Nicola Hancock, Grace Harris, Lucy Hamilton, Mikayla Hinkley, Grace Parsons, Courtney Sippel, Georgia Voll, Bonnie Berry (local replacement player)


WBBL|09 overseas players: Mignon du Preez (South Africa), Sarah Glenn (England), Bess Heath (England), Amelia Kerr (New Zealand)

The Heat are another team with a strong core of local players – the majority of whom are locked in, while Aussie star Grace Harris is also expected to re-sign. Their batting depth in particular prompted plenty of discussion last season, particularly when it came to off-contract players Georgia Voll and Mikayla Hinkley. Highly rated young allrounder Voll started the season in the top three but dropped down as low as ninth by the end of it, largely due to the presence of overseas batters Mignon du Preez, Amelia Kerr and Bess Heath. There are a number of other clubs that would no doubt love to install Voll in their top three – can they lure her away? Then there is Hinkley, who played just two matches in WBBL|08 and was all the way down at No.8 in WBBL|09. The 25-year-old would likely be guaranteed greater opportunity elsewhere if she desired a move.

The best of Young Gun Charli Knott in WBBL|09

Hobart Hurricanes

WBBL|09 result: Sixth (6 wins, 7 losses, 1 no result)


Most runs: Lizelle Lee (409)


Best strike rate (min 50 runs): Lizelle Lee (146.07)


Most wickets: Heather Graham (19)


Best economy (min 10 overs): Shabnim Ismail (6.22)


Coach: Jude Coleman


Spots filled on contract list: 4 out of 15


WBBL|10 squad so far: Heather Graham, Amy Smith, Molly Strano, Rachel Trenaman


WBBL|09 local players off contract: Nicola Carey, Elyse Villani, Maisy Gibson, Ruth Johnston, Emma Manix-Geeves, Naomi Stalenberg, Hayley Silver-Holmes, Julia Cavanough, Tabby Saville (local replacement player)


WBBL|09 overseas players: Shabnim Ismail (South Africa), Lizelle Lee (South Africa), Bryony Smith (England)

The Hurricanes have a very similar local group to the state side that has won three consecutive WNCL titles, but they have not been able to replicate that success in the WBBL, with just one finals appearance in the last seven seasons. A lack of consistency in the batting was a concern last season and they did not get the contribution they would have wanted from English batter Bryony Smith in her first WBBL season. The spin stocks are strong, but the pace depth is lacking a bit. With players like Nicola Carey off-contract, there is plenty of re-signing work to be done as well.

Lee stuns Renegades with a century off 52 balls

Melbourne Renegades

WBBL|09 result: Eighth (2 wins, 12 losses)


Most runs: Harmanpreet Kaur (321)


Best strike rate (min 50 runs): Sarah Coyte (148.27)


Most wickets: Hayley Matthews (14)


Best economy (min 10 overs): Georgia Wareham (7.38)


Coach: Simon Helmot


Spots filled on contract list: 5 out of 15


WBBL|10 squad so far: Josie Dooley, Ella Hayward, Sophie Molineux, Georgia Wareham, Courtney Webb


WBBL|09 local players off contract: Jess Duffin (retired), Ellen Falconer, Erica Kershaw, Rhiann O’Donnell, Georgia Prestwidge, Tayla Vlaeminck, Sarah Coyte, Emma de Broughe (local replacement player), Sara Kennedy (local replacement player)


WBBL|09 overseas players: Harmanpreet Kaur (India), Hayley Matthews (West Indies), Tammy Beaumont (England)

The Renegades should automatically be strengthened this season by the return of Sophie Molineux and potentially Tayla Vlaeminck, who both missed the entirety of WBBL|09 due to injury. That should reduce their reliance on their imports. Hayley Matthews, Harmanpreet Kaur and Tammy Beaumont were, on paper, three of the best imports a team could hope to bring in but all three failed to fire, while the return of Jess Duffin did not pay off.

The spin stocks in particular look healthy, with two Aussie stars in Molineux and Georgia Wareham joined by Ella Hayward, while Vlaeminck’s return would strengthen the pace attack.

They unearthed two exciting young prospects via replacement players last season – left-arm quick Sara Kennedy and batter Emma de Broughe. Hanging onto both could be a canny look to the future for the Gades.

Melbourne Stars

WBBL|09 result: Seventh (6 wins, 8 losses)


Most runs: Annabel Sutherland (288)


Best strike rate (min 50 runs): Meg Lanning (120.33)


Most wickets: Sophie Day (27)


Best economy (min 10 overs): Kim Garth (5.96)


Coach: Jon Batty


Spots filled on contract list: 5 out of 15


WBBL|10 squad so far: Sophie Day, Nicole Faltum, Kim Garth, Meg Lanning, Annabel Sutherland


WBBL|09 local players off contract: Tess Flintoff, Milly Illingworth, Olivia Henry, Rhys McKenna, Sasha Moloney, Jas Nevins, Sophie Reid


WBBL|09 overseas players: Alice Capsey, Maia Bouchier, Sophia Dunkley (all England)

The Stars missed the finals yet again last season but they have an exciting group of local players on the books that should provide a strong foundation. The low contributions from their trio of English batters hurt last season – especially when coupled with the absence of Meg Lanning towards the end of the season, and Tess Flintoff’s injuries that kept her off the park for the majority of it. Recruiting another local top-order batter could help ease their reliance on imports, and they could do with at least one more spinner to support Sophie Day.

Direct hit, classic catch, collision: Reid's wild day

Perth Scorchers

WBBL|09 result: Third (8 wins, 6 losses), defeated by Adelaide Strikers in the final


Most runs: Beth Mooney (557)


Best strike rate (min 50 runs): Amy Jones (151.44)


Most wickets: Amy Edgar (20)


Best economy (min 10 overs): Alana King (6.61)


Coach: Becky Grundy


Spots filled on contract list: 7 out of 15


WBBL|10 squad so far: Chloe Ainsworth, Stella Campbell, Piepa Cleary, Maddy Darke, Alana King, Lilly Mills, Chloe Piparo


WBBL|09 local players off contract: Amy Edgar, Beth Mooney, Charis Bekker, Lisa Griffith, Taneale Peschel, Zoe Britcliffe (local replacement player)


WBBL|09 overseas players: Sophie Devine (New Zealand), Amy Jones, Natalie Sciver-Brunt, Lauren Winfield-Hill (all England)

Across the league, there is only a few current Australian players off-contract, and one is Beth Mooney. She has loved making Perth her home across the last four seasons and the club will be desperate to re-sign her, but you would expect plenty of other suitors will be making their own pitches to one of the best batters in the world.

The club returned to the finals last season, finishing second but were bundled out by the Heat. The bones of their list are excellent and, similar to the Strikers and Heat, they can be very strategic with how they draft their overseas players to put the icing on the cake. One area they are lacking in is explosive local top-order batters, so they could look to add one to address any issues with overseas availability (Voll or Hinkley, anyone?) – and they cannot afford to lose Mooney.

Mooney's red-hot form continues with unbeaten 91

Sydney Sixers

WBBL|09 result: Fifth (7 wins, 7 losses)


Most runs: Ellyse Perry (496)


Best strike rate (min 50 runs): Ellyse Perry (131.56)


Most wickets: Lauren Cheatle (21)


Best economy (min 10 overs): Linsey Smith (6.42)


Coach: Charlotte Edwards


Spots filled on contract list: 8 out of 15


WBBL|10 squad so far: Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Kate Pelle, Ellyse Perry, Kate Peterson


WBBL|09 local players off contract: Jade Allen, Mathilda Carmichael, Emma Hughes, Gabby Sutcliffe, Hannah Trethwey


WBBL|09 overseas players: Chloe Tryon (South Africa), Linsey Smith (England), Suzie Bates, Jess Kerr (both New Zealand)

The Sixers consistently have one of the best squads on paper, which is why it is baffling they have made finals just once in the last five seasons.

They followed up an outstanding WBBL|08 campaign with another tough run last season, starting slow before falling short in their belated run at the top four. A season-ending injury to Alyssa Healy played a major role in that, as did an out-of-form Suzie Bates, forcing the Sixers to switch up their opening pair throughout the season and even experiment with Maitlan Brown at the top of the order. Losing the option to draft Sophie Ecclestone due to injury hurt big time, and Ashleigh Gardner was below her best with the bat, adding to their struggles. Not much needs to change here personnel-wise for the Sixers to return to the top four – they just need fitness and form in their favour, and a return from Ecclestone couldn't hurt.

Perry's brilliant 82* steers Sixers to Sydney Smash win

Sydney Thunder

WBBL|09 result: Fourth (7 wins, 6 losses, 1 no result), defeated by Brisbane Heat in the Eliminator


Most runs: Chamari Athapaththu (552)


Best strike rate (min 50 runs): Phoebe Litchfield (130.37)


Most wickets: Hannah Darlington (22)


Best economy (min 10 overs): Lauren Smith (5.84)


Coach: Lisa Keightley


Spots filled on contract list: 7 out of 15


WBBL|10 squad so far: Sam Bates, Hannah Darlington, Saskia Horley, Anika Learoyd, Phoebe Litchfield, Claire Moore, Tahlia Wilson


WBBL|09 local players off contract: Paris Bowdler, Ebony Hoskin, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Olivia Porter, Lauren Smith


WBBL|09 overseas players: Heather Knight (England), Chamari Athapaththu (Sri Lanka), Lauren Bell (England), Marizanne Kapp (South Africa)

The Thunder were the comeback story of last season, turning around a poor WBBL|08 that yielded just two wins with a return to the finals. Their young group run out of puff as finals approached but the signs of a very promising future were there.

With players like Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia Wilson and Hannah Darlington on the books, the Thunder have a strong foundation to build on. They probably will still be reliant on experienced internationals, however – last season, Heather Knight's leadership was instrumental, and player of the tournament Chamari Athapaththu a key reason for their success.

The best of Chamari Athapaththu in WBBL|09