First thing’s first. When does it take place?
August 28, starting at 6.30pm AEST, shortly after the conclusion of Australia’s first ODI against Zimbabwe. In Australia it will be broadcast on Fox Cricket and Kayo. On ESPNcricinfo there will be a live blog bringing you all the updates.
There are four bands overall: platinum (AU$340,000; US$236,000 approx.), gold (AU$260,000; US$181,000 approx.), silver (AU$175,000; US$121,000 approx.) and bronze (AU$100,000; US$69,000 approx.). Players themselves could pick any of the latter three, and nominate their availability, and CA have selected 12 of the leading names for the top bracket with the additional amount above the gold fee coming from a marketing pool. Overall, 332 players have put their names in. A reminder, too, that BBL clubs have a salary cap of AU$1.9 million (US$1.3m approx.).
These are the platinum players: Faf du Plessis, Jason Roy, Liam Livingstone, Sam Billings, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, David Willey, Shadab Khan, Dwayne Bravo, Rashid Khan, Chris Jordan, and Trent Boult.
The platinums are also available at gold with the exception of Rashid, Boult, Pollard and Russell. Most players have nominated themselves across gold and silver with some available across all three bands, although Joe Clarke, Sandeep Lamichhane, Obed McCoy and Rilee Rossouw are understood to be gold-only. Likewise, a few who have put themselves as silver who won’t be available in bronze. (More on some potentially value picks below).
So who gets first pick?
This was decided by a weighted lottery, based on where teams finished last season, with Melbourne Renegades coming out with the first pick and Hobart Hurricanes No. 8 (so Ricky Ponting could have his work cut out as head of strategy). Teams don’t have to select a platinum player, but they must select a minimum of two and maximum of three names overall on the night – and can only select once from each category. So there will be up to 24 players signed at the draft. Here is the full order:
I’ve heard about a retention option, what’s that?
This allows a club to keep a player who was part of their squad last season. It’s been dubbed the “Rashid Khan rule” because Adelaide Strikers are expected to use it to keep hold of Rashid should another club try to get him before Strikes get pick five in the platinum round. In the first group, Rashid aside, Andre Russell (Stars), Chris Jordan (Sixers), Shadab Khan (Sixers) and Sam Billings (Thunder) are eligible for retention. Overall, there are 28 eligible players, including James Vince (Sixers), Alex Hales (Thunder), Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Heat), Tom Curran (Sixers), Colin Munro (Scorchers) and Joe Clarke (Stars).
Well, a challenge for sure. The BBL will run from December 13 to February 4, so there is a major overlap with the two new tournaments that are being launched in South Africa and the UAE. Players who have signed for those competitions are likely to be available for the BBL until late December or early January, with exact details still being worked through. Australia’s Test players will fill some of the holes – it’s why David Warner’s deal was so important – but not all of them will disappear.
Most of the platinum players have restricted availability but would be worth selecting for the impact they could have. However the really interesting part of the draft will be in the lower categories. For example, Mohammad Amir has full availability and, it’s understood, could be snaffled at bronze. The same goes for England legspinner Matt Parkinson. Laurie Evans, who was key to Scorchers’ title last season, is also available at silver/bronze. Other leading players with limited availability but available at silver include England trio Hales, Vince and Curran. Jimmy Neesham, Reece Topley, Ollie Pope and Imran Tahir are among others available at silver but not for the whole tournament. There could be some real value to have in the bronze category.
Can teams sign replacements?
Yes, and this could start the day after the draft. Replacement players do not have to be from the same category as the player they are coming in for. Anyone in the draft not picked up on Sunday is eligible as a replacement. This could open up the possibility of players who only have availability towards the end of the tournament getting a gig.