SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: Steve Smith of the Sixers celebrates scoring his century during the Men's Big Bash League match between the Sydney Sixers and the Sydney Thunder at Sydney Cricket Ground, on January 21, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Massive changes in contracting rules and a significant uplift in player payments are set to revolutionize Australia's franchise cricket league ahead of the upcoming season.

Earlier this week, Cricket Australia announced these changes made possible by the new five-year Memorandum of Understanding between CA and the Australians' Cricketers Association.

With a significant increase in each club's total wallet from $1.9m to $3m, the franchises must now have a minimum of six players (domestic, overseas, or CA-contacted) paid $200,000 or more per season and this crop of six will be considered as marquee players. Collectively the marquees together per club must be paid less than $1.7m for BBL13.

Alistair Dobson, Cricket Australia's general manager of Big Bash Leagues, believes with the new developments the franchise league will continue to attract world-class talent while simultaneously rewarding homegrown stars.

"With top international players able to earn more in the Big Bash Leagues than ever before, there's no doubt clubs will have a high caliber group of players to choose from," Dobson said.

"The new player contracting rules and uplift in total payment pools will allow both the Weber WBBL and KFC BBL to remain internationally competitive in an increasingly dynamic market."

To stabilize the introduction of the draft system, the Big Bash formed four draft bands: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. These refer to salary brackets and categorize the players according to how much they will earn in a particular season of the Big Bash.

For BBL13, there will be confirmed salary increases for three of the four draft bands. Platinum picks will earn $420,000, a 23.5 percent increase from last year. Gold picks see a rise in pay of 15% taking their paycheck to $300,000 and Silver picks also observe an increment of 14% to $200,000. The Bronze salary band remains at $100,000.

To quickly summarize, any player on draft night that has been selected in the Platinum, Gold, or Silver bands will be considered a marquee player.

Availability concerns have also been addressed in the significant changes in the BBL setup, Platinum players must be available the entire season to pocket the full amount, unlike Rashid Khan and Trent Boult last season who earned the top wage despite departing for rival T20 leagues halfway through the tournament. Platinum drafts available for eight matches of fewer will earn $360,000 for the season, with 'mini salary bands' applying for any availability in between.

Pro rata reduction has been introduced to any drafted player unavailable for matches during their contracted period.

Two marquee supplementary spots allow CA-contracted players who are not considered to be available during the BBL contracting window, the opportunity to sign with a Big Bash team on a Marquee Supplementary List and be moved to the primary list of 18 should they become available on the onset of BBL13. This change has been integrated post-Steve Smith's heroics for the Sydney Sixers in his five-game stint last season. Smith was initially not contracted but was signed as a local replacement after his availability was confirmed due to South Africa's withdrawal from an ODI series in January.

The new mechanism facilitates transparency in the signing of a CA-contracted player with limited availability without taking a valuable spot away from another domestic player.

Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood, and Boland will be the top supplementary list targets for the BBL13 due to their absence in the previous season. Labuschagne, Lyon, and Harris who are out of contract with their respective clubs will also be among those to watch out for.

"A key focus has been to further optimise the ability and opportunity for BBL teams to sign Australian contracted players onto their lists," Dobson said.

"It's always our ambition for as many of those players to be part of the BBL as possible, noting that they've got their own workload requirements and challenges coming into a really busy year with a World Cup into a five-Test summer.

"We hope that the mechanisms we're adding at least will enable clubs to sign players even if they are either unlikely or not available, because having them around the BBL and ready if available is a really important part of the competition for us."