The Big bash League this year will increase the cap of overseas players in the playing XI of teams from two to three to compensate for the possibly weak BBL teams owing to major Australian stars missing out part of the season due to international commitments. Cricket Leagues across the world permit has so far limited number of overseas players in each team to two so that the local cricketers get a spot to play.
The change also comes in the backdrop of differences between Cricket Australia (CA) and Channel Seven over the value of BBL's Broadcast rights and hence the likely change in the overseas players regulations. In recent weeks, CA has also been into helping the finance "marquee" deals worth more than six figures for overseas players outside the current BBL club pay slabs. CA was supposed to conduct it's first player draft ahead of the 2020-21 edition but was pushed to August due to Covid-19.
Dawid Malan (Hobart Hurricanes), Alex Hales (Sydney Thunder), Liam Livingstone (Perth Scorchers), Tom Banton (Brisbane Heat) and Tom Curran (Sydney Sixers) so far have been roped in as overseas players.
This addition of players would vouch for the absence of players such as Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Aaron Finch, Adam Zampa and Marcus Stoinis who will be missing the BBL due to international commitments. Clubs are intent to sign up David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, who have often missed the BBL. One area of curiosity will be if the CA would be able to convince the BCCI to allow a few Indian players to take part in BBL.
Overseas players such as AB de Villiers, Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan and Dale Steyn and emerging talents such as Jofra Archer, Rashid Khan and Sandeep Lamichhane, have been key performers in the BBL. Teams have always had only 2 overseas players in their 18-man squad, even though rules were relaxed in 2019 to allow up to six overseas players to cycle through shorter deals along the full tournament.
CA and the broadcasters are willing to allow another overseas playing spot, but the ACA's opposition has remained until recently, when the change was again suggested for negotiations for a range of necessary changes in the MoU. In addition to the overseas players clause, the players' association is also working with CA on plans to use some of this years' untapped player payment pool cash to provide a wide range of support to players, especially in the WBBL.