BBL Challenger - Melbourne Stars v Sydney Thunder
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 06: Haris Rauf of the Stars celebrates taking the wicket of Jay Lenton of the Sydney Thunder during the Big Bash League Challenger match between the Melbourne Stars and the Sydney Thunder at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on February 06, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
BBL Challenger - Melbourne Stars v Sydney Thunder

The Big Bash League (BBL) has announced that it will implement an international player draft in a bid to attract high-profile overseas names to Australia this summer.

But for the existing relationships between BBL clubs and overseas players, each franchise will be afforded one retention pick ahead of the draft.

Zero Wicket takes a look at who each club should target as their retention pick ahead of BBL 12.

Adelaide Strikers

Possible options to retain: Ian Cockbain (England), George Garton (England), Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)


Ian Cockbain enjoyed a solid start to his BBL career last season with Adelaide, registering the league's second-highest batting average of 59.75 (239 runs from six innings). Meanwhile, fellow English recruit George Garton also played six matches, snagging six wickets across his appearances.

But Rashid Khan's status as one of the world's best T20 bowlers (ranked fourth in the world in the ICC T20 bowling rankings) makes it impossible to keep the Afghanistan superstar out of the retention equation.

Khan is building a long association with the Adelaide Strikers, and is potentially the catalyst for bringing in the retention rule at the draft. He has played for Adelaide since the 2017/18 BBL, where he was also the leading competition's leading wicket-taker in his first year.

In last season's edition of the BBL, he was the fourth-highest wicket-taker (20 wickets), while only averaging a meagre 13.95 from 44 overs bowled.

Verdict: Rashid Khan

Brisbane Heat

Possible options to retain: Tom Abell (England), Ben Duckett (England), Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan), Fakhar Zaman (Pakistan).


Mujeeb Ur Rahman has played for the Brisbane Heat since he was 17, joining the franchise in 2018. Over the course of his career, he has played 37 games for the Heat, picking up 37 wickets, as well as an average of 24.21 and an economy rate of 6.20. His career-best figures were an outstanding 5/15 - the fifth-best BBI in BBL history.

Ben Duckett also made a significant impact in his first and sole season with the Heat in 2021/22, amassing 302 runs from 12 games played. That included three half-centuries and a strike rate of 128.51.

Tom Abell played just two games in last season's BBL and failed to fire before injuring his hip. He scored just nine runs. Likewise, Fakhar Zaman played just one game after joining the Heat to replace Abell. He was caught out by domestic COVID-19 border controls, before returning to Pakistan's own domestic tournament.

Verdict: Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Hobart Hurricanes

Possible options to retain: Harry Brook (England), Jordan Cox (England), Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal), Tom Lammonby (England), Jordan Thompson (England)


Harry Brook played seven games in BBL 2021/22, but failed to fire, managing just nine runs from his first four innings. He finished with 44 runs and a sorry average of 6.29.

Jordan Thompson was under-utilised by the Hurricanes after taking two three-wicket hauls (eight in total for the tournament), but only once bowled four overs across his 11 games in BBL 2021/22. With the bat, he managed a strike rate in excess of 150, but again wasn't used much down the order, only registering 52 runs.

Jordan Cox played just one game in 2021/22 for the 'Canes after fellow Englishmen Brook and Thompson were unavailable, scoring 10 runs. Likewise, Tom Lammonby played three games in the early stages of last year's BBL, making a duck and going wicketless in his first game, before not bowling or batting in his next two outings.


Sandeep Lamichhane is the only current Hurricane to have played more than one season in Hobart. He previously played at the Stars. Since joining the Hurricanes in 2020, he has been a mainstay of the purple lineup with a steady and consistent contribution of 22 wickets from 22 games played.

Verdict: Sandeep Lamichhane

Melbourne Renegades

Possible options to retain: Unmukt Chand (India/USA), Zahir Khan (Afghanistan), Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan), Reece Topley (England)


Unmukt Chand made headlines as the first Indian player to feature in the BBL, but he had been living and playing cricket in the USA before only featuring twice for the Renegades in last season's tournament. He made a classy 29 runs and regularly scored at a quick rate.

England bowler Reece Topley also joined the 'Gades last season and managed to line up in eight matches across the season, picking up nine wickets. His season highlight was figures of 3-27 against the Stars which included the wickets of Glenn Maxwell and Hilton Cartwright.

Zahir Khan has been a regular recruit in the BBL, having played for the Heat in 2019/20 and the Stars in 2020/21, before joining the Renegades last summer. He was a regular name in the side, playing 14 games, but failed to strike significantly with the ball over the course of the competition. His first match in the red returned figures of 3-24, but from then on he amassed just nine wickets from the next 13 games and averaged 33.50.

As a mainstay of the Renegades' lineup, Mohammad Nabi has cemented his spot in the club's history with a consistent output across five seasons. He's played 43 matches in the red, notching up 661 runs and 28 wickets across his career. He will be remembered for some match-defining moments, including a match-winning 71 in BBL 10.

Verdict: Mohammad Nabi

Melbourne Stars

Possible options to retain: Qais Ahmad (Afghanistan), Joe Clarke (England), Ahmed Daniyal (Pakistan), Syed Faridoun (Pakistan), Haris Rauf (Pakistan), Andre Russell (West Indies)


Having previously played at the Perth Scorchers in 2020/21, English opener Joe Clarke's 2021/22 BBL season at the Stars could've been over very early on after scoring two ducks in his first four innings. But the club persisted with Clarke, who eventually notched up more than 400 runs in the tournament.

Likewise, Qais Ahmad also had a very effective season, playing ten matches across his first and only season to date in 2021/22 with the Stars. He finished with sound average of 21.2 and an economy rate of 7.14, while totalling 13 wickets for the season.

But the retention pick will seemingly come down to the choice between Haris Rauf and Andre Russell.

Rauf has played for the Stars since 2019/20, taking a five-wicket haul in just his second match. He then took a hat-trick in his fourth game. That tournament he finished with 20 wickets and was headed for a competition-high before international duty called halfway through the season. In the following two seasons, he only managed eight games (three in 2020/21 and five in 2021/22), but made a significant impact earlier this year with nine wickets in five games.

With limited opportunities with the bat, Russell scored 83 runs from five games, at an average of 41.50 and a strike rate of 156. His tournament highlight was a blazing 42 not out of just 21 balls. But with the ball, his bowling was a liability, conceding 10 runs an over in all but one match. But with his high-profile stature as a renowned West Indian player and a batting prowess capable of defining a match, he'd be difficult to overlook.

Syed Faridoun played just the one game in 2021/22, and was a rather obscure pick by the Stars. He immediately made way for Russell when he arrived.

Fellow Pakistan import Ahmed Daniyal also played just three games for the Stars, despite an impressive ability to bowl over 140km/h. He took a handy 1/24 against the Renegades but was only utilised during the Stars' difficult period of Covid-19 unavailability last season.

Verdict: Haris Rauf

Perth Scorchers

Possible options to retain: Colin Munro (New Zealand), Laurie Evans (England), Tymal Mills (England)


Tymal Mills was particularly impressive in his first outing with the Scorchers in BBL 2021/22, having picked up 12 wickets from just seven matches. His average of 15.83 was the 10th best in the league.

Also in his first year with the franchise, Laurie Evans impressed with 361 runs from 15 games (40.11 average).

Colin Munro is building a solid connection with the Scorchers faithful, with that a big reason for the retention rule. He has played at Perth since 2020 and has played a key role in the recent successes of the side.

Having smashed a century in BBL 2021/22, Munro's overall run tally of 390 and average of 43.33 were among the best dozen in the competition.

Verdict: Colin Munro

Sydney Sixers

Possible options to retain: Tom Curran (England), Chris Jordan (England), Shadab Khan (Pakistan), James Vince (England)


Having lined up in the magenta kit since 2018/19, James Vince has so far had a colourful career with the Sixers - highlighted by an outstanding 2020/21 campaign where he scored a mammoth 537 runs. In that season, he steered the Sixers to victory in the final, scoring 95 runs. But he struggled in comparison in 2021/22, with an average of just 18.62 from nine games.

Tom Curran, also a long-serving Englishman for the Sixers (since 2018/19), will be remembered for his 2019/20 campaign for being a key pillar in getting the Sixers into the finals. He was the equal second-best wicket-taker in that season with 22 wickets to his name. But he had his tournament cut short last season after sustaining an injury and made little impact on the side.

After starring in the 2021 T20 World Cup for Pakistan, Shadab Khan joined the Sixers in late 2021 following Curran's injury. Chris Jordan was also a late arrival to the Sixers in late 2021, as cover for injured Carlos Brathwaite. Both players struggled to make an impact.

Verdict: James Vince

Sydney Thunder:

Possible options to retain: Sam Billings (England), Alex Hales (England), Mohammad Hasnain (Pakistan), Saqib Mahmood (England)


Alex Hales is one of the BBL's most important international faces, having bounced around from franchise to franchise from 2012-2015 (Renegades, Strikers, Hurricanes). But since 2019/20, he has found a home at the Thunder. Hales is known for his ability to blast the ball to all parts of the ground.

He was the competition's leading run-scorer in 2020/21 with 543 runs after finishing second-best in 2019/20 with 576 runs. In 2021/22 he finished with 383 runs.

Wicketkeeper-batter Sam Billings made a very solid contribution with the bat in BBL 2021/22, scoring 284 runs from nine matches at an average of 40.57 (strike rate 153.51). He previously played two seasons with the Sydney Sixers before moving across town to the Thunder last summer.

Saqib Mahmood was incredibly effective in six games in his first season with the Thunder in 2021/22, registering the third-best strike rate in the competition (10.6). He picked up 13 wickets from six games and was among the league's best bowling averages.

Having joined the Thunder in 2022 Mohammad Hasnain made headlines with his express pace, regularly notching up 150km/h. He picked up seven wickets from five matches, including an impressive 3/20 on debut.

Verdict: Alex Hales