BBL - Sixers v Thunder
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 22: Alex Hales of the Thunder hits four during the Big Bash League match between the Sydney Sixers and the Sydney Thunder at Adelaide Oval, on January 22, 2021, in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)
BBL - Sixers v Thunder

Cricket Australia is understood to be planning an overseas player draft for the next edition of the BBL, which could see a higher quality of imports join the domestic T20 tournament later this year.

The recent Big Bash season came under scrutiny for the lack of high-quality world-class players that featured throughout the campaign, with a high number of blue-chip international signings only featuring in a handful of matches.

Scheduled clashes with abroad international duties and other domestic competition's saw the likes of Rashid Khan, Andre Russell and Tymal Mills unable to compete for the entire BBL|11 draw.

The calls for a smaller fixture and increase in international stars has left Cricket Australia to reportedly mull over making drastic changes, including adding a draft prior to the next BBL season that would give clubs the chance to bid for the rights to certain world-class names.

The Indian Premier League has dominated the player market in the build-up to almost every new season, even seeing players across the world place the IPL as a priority over their own international duties.

IPL auctions have prolonged the quality of the tournament since its inception in 2008, with franchises also able to retain key members of their squad at the end of each season.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 01: Andre Russell of the Thunder prepares to bowl during the Big Bash League match between the Perth Scorchers and Sydney Thunder at WACA on January 1, 2017 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

A similar method could be used for the BBL, meaning the Sydney Thunder could hold the rights to Englishman Alex Hales for BBL|12 while also being able to add to their list through the draft.

"One of the most important things each year is to make sure the best players come into the competition," General Manager of Big Bash Leagues Alistair Dobson told

"We know how popular the BBL is, all the players tell us how desperate they are to come and play. We've talked for a couple of years now about different mechanisms to explore that, whether that be a draft or working in other ways with our clubs."

A draft could open opportunities for some of the world's best international white-ball specialists to feature down under.

BBL clubs would need to balance the risk if players are still required to share their services with their international duties should they arise, however even small stint contracts could see more fans flock to matches should they know top echelon stars will feature in the league.

Cricket Australia are understood to have weighed up an international draft in recent years, however complications related to the COVID-19 pandemic are understood to have forced a delay in implementing the recruitment concept.