When, where, how? All you need to know about the BBL and WBBL overseas players draft


The second installment of the BBL overseas draft is set to place on September 3 alongside the inaugural WBBL overseas draft. Both drafts will follow very similar rules to last year. Here is everything you need to know.

What is the overseas draft and where will it be held?

BBL and WBBL teams no longer recruit their three overseas players privately. The BBL held an overseas draft for the first time last year and the WBBL will hold a draft for the first time this year. They will select a minimum of two or a maximum of three overseas players from the drafts that will be held back-to-back in Melbourne on September 3. The draft will only be for overseas players. Domestic players will be contracted in the same way they always are although there has been a new marquee rule in the BBL introduced for CA contracted players.

Will the overseas draft be televised?

Both drafts will be televised on Foxtel and streamed on Kayo. The draft will take place at NEP studios in South Melbourne where it was held last year. The WBBL draft is likely to take place in the afternoon followed by the BBL draft in the evening.

How do overseas players nominate?

Players get to nominate their price category and their availability in terms of the number of games they can play. The BBL is now a 10-game season plus finals and not all overseas players will be available for the whole competition due to both international commitments and other leagues, as has been the case previously. The WBBL is a full 14-game season plus finals but the women are more likely to be available for the entire season. There is a nomination process that is currently open and ends on August 20. Players will be put into four categories: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The players themselves can choose to enter the Gold, Silver, or Bronze band. Platinum players will be decided by Cricket Australia based on the nominations.

There has been an increase in the men’s BBL overseas salary bands after the salary cap was increased from AUD 1.9 million to AUD$3 million. Platinum players are now set to earn AUD 420,000, up from $340,000 last year although there are caveats for the Platinum players this year. They will only earn the full amount if they are available for the entire season including finals, which runs from December 7 to January 24. If they are only available for 10 matches, they will earn AUD 400,000. If they can only play nine matches the price will be AUD 380,000. Anyone only available for eight matches or less in the Platinum category will earn AUD 360,000 regardless of whether they play one game or eight. Gold players will earn AUD 300,000, Silver AUD 200,000, and Bronze AUD 100,000 with no minimum matches required for those players. There are no match payments in the BBL, as players are contracted with set retainers. All overseas salaries are to be paid by the clubs from within the salary cap.

The categories only relate to price, not to availability. So players can nominate to be available for the whole tournament in the Bronze category, or for half the tournament in the Gold category. Their availability is their currency and teams will have to decide whether a Platinum player with limited availability is worth selecting.

In the WBBL, Platinum players will earn AUD 110,000 to be paid by the clubs from the AUD 732,000 salary cap. Gold players will earn AUD 90,000, Silver AUD 65,000 and Bronze will earn AUD 40,000.

What is the draft order and how was it decided?

CA held a private weighted lottery to decide the order in both the BBL and WBBL, as they did last year. This year’s BBL draft order is as follows: pick 1 – Melbourne Stars, pick 2 – Adelaide Strikers, pick 3 – Hobart Hurricanes, pick 4 – Melbourne Renegades, pick 5 – Sydney Thunder, pick 6 – Sydney Sixers, pick 7 – Brisbane Heat, pick 8 – Perth Scorchers.

The three teams who missed the BBL finals last season – Stars, Strikers and Hurricanes – entered a lottery for the first three draft picks. Stars, who finished last, got three chances to get the first draft pick, Strikers two and Hurricanes one. Here’s another way to think of it: there are six balls in the first lottery and three of them are Stars’ giving them a 50% chance of first pick, whereas Hurricanes, with one ball, only have 16.66% chance.

The order of the next five picks were selected from a second pot featuring the finalists from last season. Again, the lottery was weighted. Fifth-placed Thunder got five chances to get the fourth pick, Renegades four, Sixers three, Heat two, and two-time defending champions Scorchers got one.

The WBBL draft order was decided via the same method except there were two pots of four due to a different finals system. This year’s WBBL draft order is as follows: pick 1 – Sydney Thunder, pick 2 – Melbourne Renegades, pick 3 – Perth Scorchers, pick 4 – Melbourne Stars, pick 5 – Hobart Hurricanes, pick 6 – Brisbane Heat, pick 7 – Sydney Sixers, pick 8 – Adelaide Strikers.

In both drafts, the first two rounds of the draft will run in order from one to eight. Round three will run in reverse order, so team eight will get two selections in a row (pick 16 and 17). Round four will run in normal order again. So team one will get two selections in a row (picks 24 and 25).

How does the draft work?

There will be four rounds of the draft with each team getting one pick per round. Clubs can pass if they don’t want to pick in certain rounds but must pick a minimum of two or a maximum of three players by the completion of round four. Round one is for Platinum players only. In round two, teams can pick Platinum or Gold players. In round three, teams can select Gold or Silver players. In round four, teams can pick Silver or Bronze players. Teams do not have to select a Platinum player but they must then select a Gold player. Teams can select two Platinum players, but only one in each round. If they choose two Platinum players, they cannot select a Gold player, they can only select a Silver or Bronze. The same rule applies if a team chooses two Gold players in rounds two and three. They can only then select a Bronze player in round four.

Can overseas players who are currently connected with BBL clubs be retained?

Yes, they can. But only one. This could be coined the “Rashid Khan rule”. Rashid was the first player retained under this rule last year. Stars selected him as a Platinum player ahead of Strikers’ first pick. Strikers took the option to use their retention pick to keep him. Strikers had to pay the same amount of money and use their pick in the first round to retain him. Stars then got the opportunity to pick again and took Trent Boult. Scorchers had the option of retaining Colin Munro last year when Heat selected him first but opted not to use the retention pick. There is also an addition to the retention pick rule this year. Players that were previously drafted or contracted to the club but weren’t available to play can be retained.

This specifically applies to Liam Livingstone, who was the No.1 pick in the inaugural BBL overseas draft last year by Renegades but was unavailable for the whole season after he was unexpectedly called up to England’s Test squad for the tour of Pakistan. Under the new rule, Renegades can use their retention pick Livingstone, even though he hasn’t played for the club and has only previously played for Scorchers in the BBL. Scorchers could have a challenge in the WBBL with their retention pick, potentially having to make a choice between star allrounders Sophie Devine and Marizanne Kapp if another team selects both of them first.

Are there swapping of picks?

There is pick trading this season for the first time. There was no swapping of picks in last year’s draft but CA have added pick trading to the two drafts this year but it comes in a limited capacity. Teams can only trade picks within each round. So a team with pick 8 who doesn’t want a Platinum player cannot trade pick 8 for pick 9 to ensure both clubs got two picks in the same round. Trades of picks will need to be completed by August 20, the same day the nominations close, and all trades need to be approved by CA’s technical committee.

What about replacement players?

Each team can contract up to four replacement overseas players (or five if they have only taken two players at the draft) if their picks in the draft become unavailable due to injury or international duty. Clubs can have no more than seven overseas players in total on any list including primary and replacement players. Teams can’t tell overseas players privately not to nominate for the draft and then contract them as replacements. They must have been available to all teams initially in the draft before being available as a replacement. Platinum players can be replacement players as was the case last year. Faf du Plessis and Andre Russell were both not selected as Platinum players at the inaugural draft but du Plessis ended up playing seven games for Scorchers as a replacement player for Phil Salt while Russell played four games for Renegades as a replacement for Livingstone.

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