Draft prospects: The big names your club could target
We've taken a dive through the international schedule for December and January to see which overseas stars could be available to nominate for the BBL draft
22 June 2022, 05:14 PM AEST
With the BBL's plans confirmed for a first-ever overseas player draft, the next question all fans will be asking is: which international stars might nominate?
A backlog of international tours due to postponements during the COVID-19 pandemic and rival domestic T20 leagues such as the new South Africa and UAE tournaments make for a crowded schedule, with the KFC BBL facing more competition for overseas talent than ever.
But the lure of playing in Australia on good wickets in front of big crowds, not to mention the lifestyle experience of an Aussie summer, remains strong among foreign players, and with Cricket Australia set to bolster salaries through a lucrative, four-tier draft structure, Big Bash officials hope BBL|12 will be the most enticing season for international T20 talent yet.
Overseas players will nominate for the draft across gold, silver or bronze salary bands, with the league to elevate select players who they determine are the most enticing draft prospects to a platinum tier.
CA has not publicly confirmed the salary bands, but it is understood that bronze level selections (the lowest salary band) will earn a six-figure sum with the platinum tier worth more than three times that.
A date for the draft and the order in which clubs will pick is yet to be announced, but players are able to nominate for the draft from today.
"We know talking to agents on a daily basis how much their players want to come and play in the BBL," said Alistair Dobson, Cricket Australia's General Manager of Big Bash Leagues.
"They love the stadiums, they love fans, they love the quality of the cricket and clearly Australia is a great place to be over summer.
"Now, with the model we've put in place, our ability to pay them is as competitive as ever and we think that's all the right ingredients."
We've taken a dive through the crowded schedule of the ICC's Future Tours Programme to see which overseas T20 stars could have gaps in their international schedule for a trip Down Under during the December-January window.
At this stage, England's only assignment during the Big Bash window is a Test series against Pakistan that appears set to finish in the third week of December, meaning next summer's BBL could again see an influx of English talent. The hope would be that global T20 superstars such as Liam Livingstone, Jos Buttler, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow will be attracted by the lucrative salary structure to complement domestic specialists like Joe Clarke, Laurie Evans, Harry Brook and Iain Cockbain, who featured in last year's tournament.
Alex Hales, Sam Billings and James Vince are Big Bash fan favourites and will undoubtedly enter the draft to come back for another season, while fast bowlers Chris Jordan, Tymal Mills, Jofra Archer, David Willey, Saqib Mahmood, Reece Topley and Tom Curran have all previously played in the BBL. New ODI opener Phil Salt, speedster Mark Wood and crafty pacer Sam Curran would also be attractive options, while could veteran quick Stuart Broad be lured out for another Big Bash stint after eight games in purple in BBL|06?
Allrounders Moeen Ali, new Test skipper Ben Stokes, white-ball captain Eoin Morgan and Chris Woakes are also experienced T20 campaigners, while leg-spinner Adil Rashid has played in multiple leagues, including with Adelaide Strikers in BBL|05. And will Dawid Malan, who recently signed on for a T20 stint with local Victorian club Endeavour Hills, also have time to fit in a few BBL games?
After a two-Test series in Australia in November and the start of December, the national side has ODI series earmarked for New Zealand in late December and Bangladesh in late January, along with three T20Is in Pakistan in January. But the Caribbean nations also boast a number of T20 'free agents', headlined by big-hitting allrounder Andre Russell, who is fresh off a whirlwind five-game stint for Melbourne Stars last summer.
Former West Indies white-ball skipper Kieron Pollard recently announced his retirement from international cricket, which makes him an attractive prospect for Big Bash clubs. Dwayne Bravo has also retired from international cricket, while Sydney Sixers favourite Carlos Brathwaite hasn't played for the West Indies in any format since 2019. Spinner Sunil Narine also hasn't played international cricket since August 2019 and batter Evin Lewis has previously fallen out of favour with national selectors on fitness grounds.
Afghanistan has a three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka slated for late January 2023 meaning their international representatives again look set to miss the BBL finals. It's almost certain Adelaide Strikers will use a retention pick to draft T20 superstar Rashid Khan, while fellow spinners Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Qais Ahmad have also enjoyed success in the Big Bash. Melbourne Renegades general manager James Rosengarten has indicated Mohammad Nabi's time in red is over, but that's not to say another club won't find the veteran allrounder an attractive option.
Rashid has big raps for 24-year-old opening batter Hazratullah Zazai, who has 2308 runs at a strike rate of 144 in 82 T20 matches in the Pakistan, Sri Lankan and Bangladesh leagues, and a top score of 162no for Afghanistan in T20Is, so don't be surprised if he becomes the latest Afghan to make a name for himself in the BBL.
Pakistan's men's side have a fully loaded schedule during the Big Bash window with three Tests against England in November-December, two Tests and three ODIs against New Zealand in December-January and three T20Is against West Indies in January, meaning an Aaron Finch and Babar Azam reunion at the Renegades appears unlikely until the following season. Given Melbourne Stars icon Haris Rauf has been on the fringe of Test selection for a while, the national side's busy schedule could make it difficult for him to be available for a short Big Bash stint.
White-ball specialists Shadab Khan and Fakhar Zaman may be able to fit in BBL appearances during the Test series if ticked off by the Pakistan Cricket Board and pace sensation Mohammad Hasnain has resumed bowling after his action was given the all clear. Other Pakistani targets for Big Bash clubs could include reserve wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed, left-arm quick Mohammad Amir, who recently reversed his decision to retire for international cricket, and out-of-favour left-armer Wahab Riaz.
With South Africa's new franchise T20 league set to launch in January 2023 after their three-match Test series on Australian soil, it basically rules out all Proteas players from a Big Bash stint. There's also the yet-to-be confirmed three-match ODI series scheduled against Australia in mid-January, with a late request from South Africa to reschedule yet to be resolved. However, South African T20 freelancers and non-Test players such as Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock and Imran Tahir could be lured Down Under for the first half of the BBL in December prior to the country's new domestic league kicking off in January.
Generally New Zealand internationals don't feature in the Big Bash as it clashes with their own summer and domestic season. The Blackcaps are also scheduled to tour Pakistan for two Tests and three ODIs in December-January. The exception is players on the fringes such as Colin Munro, who starred for Perth Scorchers during their championship-winning season last summer. Glenn Phillips, Adam Milne and Lockie Ferguson are other Kiwi T20 specialists who have turned out in various other leagues across the globe during the past year, including the IPL. And allrounder Jimmy Neesham, who is currently playing with BBL free agent Chris Lynn at Northants in England's T20 Blast, does not have a domestic contract in New Zealand after parting ways with Wellington earlier this month. He was also left off the Blackcaps central contract list for 2022-23 but signalled his intentions to seek an opportunity with Auckland and reaffirmed his main priority was to represent NZ in both white-ball formats.
Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Namibia, Zimbabwe
The Bangladesh Premier League usually runs at some point in January meaning a clash with the Big Bash is inevitable, with rising stars such as Liton Das, Tamim Iqbal, Taskin Ahmed, Mahmudullah and veterans Shakib Al Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman unlikely to feature in the BBL. Sri Lankan internationals are also out with the Lions set to tour NZ in November-December, India in December-January and then host Afghanistan in late January. Irish dasher Paul Stirling, who cracked 119 off 51 balls in England's T20 Blast last month, has proven his worth as a T20 gun for hire and could nominate to stay on for a BBL stint after the World Cup finishes in November. Namibian and PSL star David Wiese is more likely to be snapped up in the new South African league, as is Zimbabwe and Multan Sultans quick Blessing Muzarabani.