A threat is hovering over the Big Bash. More than a dozen Australian players are being contracted by the International League T20 (ILT20) to play in the inaugural edition that is scheduled to be held in the UAE from January 6 to February 12. Sources reveal the players are being offered hefty pay and as much as AUD 700,000 to make themselves available during the period.
The Big Bash cricket tournament is an Australian T20 professional franchise league and is similarly scheduled to be held during the same period, December 13 to February 4. The players may find it extremely tough to play in both tournaments simultaneously. It could be virtually impossible for them and therefore choosing either is supposed to be the only option.
The payment differences are wide between the two tournaments and abreast to this the existing central contract in the BBL does not feature an obligation to play in the tournament. Experts believe it is the right time for the Australian league to revamp the pay structure and think the other way to retain the players for the league.
Former Australian captain David Warner did not play a single BBL season since 2014 and he could be one of the first players to make a move. The attempted raid by the ILT20 administrator has left the Australian Cricketers Association and Cricket Australia under pressure to find ways in retaining the popular players.
It is lately learned the Australian administrator is striving to stop the players from moving away as well as to maintain the quality and sheen of BBL. It may sign a lucrative deal with Warner and other important players to prevent them from getting lured by the new ILT20 tournament.
The Big Bash League cricket was established in 2011 by Cricket Australia, the administrative and governing body of cricket in the country, and it replaced the earlier similar competition named the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash. It features a total of eight franchises based in the names of Australian cities and is widely popular like the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The upcoming Big Bash this year-end will be the 12th edition and the current defending champions are the Perth Scorchers, the team which defeated the Sydney Sixers by 79 runs in the final match of the last season.
The eight teams are Adelaide Strikers, Brisbane Heat, Hobart Hurricanes, Melbourne Renegades, Melbourne Stars, Perth Scorchers, Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder.
The Perth Scorchers have won the maximum titles followed by the Sydney Sixers. Six teams have won the title at least once while Melbourne Stars and Hobart Hurricanes have yet not won any.
KFC is the title sponsor of the Big Bash since 2011/12 and some of the associate sponsors include Weet-Bix, Toyota, Wrigley Extra, Commonwealth Bank, BKT Tires, Woolworths and Dream11. Fox Cricket, Radio Australia, Seven Network, Macquarie Sports Radio and Sports Entertainment Network are the broadcast partners.
The International League T20 was originally planned to start in January 2022, but it has been postponed by about a year and is now scheduled to be played from January 6 to February 12 in 2023. A total of six teams are to take parts such as Abu Dhabi Knight Riders, Dubai Capitals and Gulf Giants.
Three teams are yet to finalize the naming part while it is here to note that all the six teams are bought by Indian business houses, which own franchises in the IPL such as Reliance Industries, Knight Riders Group, Adani Group, GMR Group and Lancer Capitals.
IPL, Big Bash and other major T20 leagues allow contracting just up to five overseas players in a team while the ILT20 has emerged with a rule of nine overseas players. This is one of the primary reasons about fifteen Australian players are being contracted to play in the tournament.