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BBL Mulls Rule Changes to Keep Overseas Stars
- Updated: January 19, 2024
Cricket Australia is set to engage in discussions with BBL clubs regarding potential rule changes aimed at preventing the departure of overseas players during future finals series. While the BBL experienced a revival this summer, marked by a 27% increase in average crowds, challenges persist. The finals will miss the presence of six overseas players who opted for lucrative ILT20 deals in the UAE after the last round-robin week. Laurie Evans, Sam Billings, Colin Munro, James Vince, Jamie Overton, and Adam Hose are among those set to be absent.
Club awareness of player availability during the draft was acknowledged, given the attractive offerings from clubs in the UAE, often owned by IPL franchises. Officials now seek solutions to address these challenges in future seasons and finals series. The players themselves have expressed a desire to stay, prompting considerations of contractual adjustments to be part of end-of-season talks.
One proposal, suggested by Sam Billings, involves providing additional security for overseas players by offering multi-year deals outside the draft. Such contracts would aim to provide more certainty in negotiating arrival dates with rival leagues. Alistair Dobson, BBL boss, emphasized the valuable role overseas players play in the BBL, contributing on the field, becoming fan favorites, and earning favor with broadcasters.
“We have seen this year the role overseas players continue to play in the BBL,” said Dobson. “They have been great performers on the field, they are fan favourites, and the broadcasters love them. However, we need to continue to evolve our competition and make our competition appealing to the players to come and play in the BBL.”
The objective remains to have overseas players participate in as many games as possible. Dobson highlighted the necessity of evolving the competition to attract players and maintain their involvement. The BBL plans to focus on achieving this goal in the upcoming seasons, and contractual discussions, when possible, will play a role in shaping the league’s future.
A more compressed schedule is anticipated for the next season, with no break for the Perth Test, aiming to attract overseas talent for an extended duration. Despite challenges, the BBL experienced a successful season, with significant increases in average crowds for teams like Brisbane Heat and Perth Scorchers. The reduction of regular-season games from 56 to 40 contributed to creating scarcity and ensuring every game is promoted effectively.
“This year it has only got stronger and gives us a bigger platform for next year and beyond,” said Dobson. The organizers and broadcasters believe that fewer games not only adds a sense of scarcity but also provides flexibility in the schedule, allowing every game to be promoted in a more significant and better fashion. The success of this season has set a positive tone, and the BBL aims to build on it in the coming years, addressing challenges and continuing to captivate audiences.
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By- Sahiba Suri