BBL - Heat v Strikers
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 12: Rashid Khan of the Strikers celebrates taking the wicket of Mujeeb Ur Rahman of the Heat during the Men's Big Bash League match between the Brisbane Heat and the Adelaide Strikers at The Gabba, on January 12, 2022, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
BBL - Heat v Strikers

Cricket Australia (CA) has defended its inaugural Big Bash League (BBL) overseas players draft, insisting that this year's competition will feature the best possible pool of players.

Some of the international stars used to promote the draft were not picked up by any of the franchises, including platinum-level players Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo, Jason Roy and Andre Russell.

Liam Livingstone, Rashid Khan, Trent Boult, Sam Billings and Chris Jordan rounded out the top five picks on the night, while the likes of Shadab Khan, David Willey, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Joe Clarke and Asif Ali also earned selections in the opening two rounds.

BBL boss Alistair Dobson has insisted that the competition's playing list is its most marketable in the tournament's existence, also pointing towards the contingency of homegrown Australian talent involved.

"From our perspective, this coming BBL season is the strongest in its history with that entire group," Dobson said, via 

"Rather than looking at the players who didn't get drafted, it's important to look at the ones who did.

"Rashid Khan, Liam Livingstone, Trent Boult, they represent the best of the best in world cricket.

"Right down through the platinum and gold rounds there are household BBL names in there.

"It's also important to look at that in the context of the full availability of Australia's white-ball superstars and the strong availability of Australia's multi-format players including David Warner."

The new BBL draft was introduced this season as an innovative way to rejuvenate the competition by enhancing the league's chase for international stars.

Players selected from the draft will be paid via a four-tier system as either platinum ($340,000), gold ($260,000), silver ($175,000) or bronze ($100,000).

However, the draft appears to strike the intersection of administrators' marketing objectives and the clubs' desire to win, with player availability seemingly the biggest reason for several international stars to be snubbed on the night.

Ricky Ponting, who is currently working as Hobart Hurricanes' head of strategy, claimed the draft was flawed in certain ways, also imploring CA that their objective was to win the tournament.

"(It's) flawed in certain ways, you're paying a big chunk of your salary cap for players that are going to be there for seven or eight games," Ponting told Triple M.

"Once they leave you don't get any of it back. To try and replace these guys you've gotta leave a lot of money in your salary cap.

"Most teams were looking at taking a not-quite-as-talented player, but someone who's going to be there the whole tournament

"Even with the Perth Scorchers, they passed in their first round to save some money and spend it on a gold player who is going to be there the whole tournament.

"What CA have got to understand is its not about the marketability of the teams, it's about winning the tournament."


BBL clubs have resisted handing out $340,000 for platinum players who had limited availability, and have instead opted for those who could feature for at least the majority of fixtures, including Liam Livingstone, who was landed at pick no.1 for the Melbourne Renegades.

The current system does not allow for CA to make 'pro-rata' contracts available, which would afford BBL clubs to pay for what they get from players.

From the first two rounds of the draft, nine of the 16 players selected will be available for the whole tournament; including David Willey (Perth Scorchers), Laurie Evans (Perth Scorchers), Joe Clarke (Melbourne Stars) and Colin de Grandhomme (Adelaide).

Players that were unavailable for about half the tournament, including Du Plessis and Russell, were overlooked for other players.

Dwayne Bravo during the Big Bash League match between the Melbourne Renegades and the Melbourne Stars at Etihad Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.

The absences of Du Plessis, Roy, as well as missing the returns of Kieron Pollard, Russell and Bravo is a major blow for CA, but Dobson has remained adamant that player availability issues did not derail any draft selections.

"Clubs, in choosing platinum players, were comparing apples for apples," Dobson said.

"Availability was clearly one of the inputs that clubs took into account.

"(But) the degree to which availability was a reason why certain players were overlooked wasn't necessarily the case when you look at who was selected."

Earlier in the week, Australian cricketer Steve Smith also raised concerns over the BBL overseas draft, claiming that local players were having their remuneration sacrificed for "big cash" contracts afforded to international players.