Cricket Australia is working on protocols and exemptions to ensure international players can be part of the Big Bash which will start earlier than ever before on December 3.
But the participation of Australia’s best players remains a task took hard with a packed international schedule and high performance limitations continuing to hurt that push.
Despite conceding the length of the BBL was an “annual discussion”, CA head of Big Bash leagues Alistair Dobson said officials were committed to a full home and away season, which mean 61 games.
Dobson said this year’s schedule, which will open with eight straight games and finishing with a final on February 6, was the right “structure” for the 10th season of the BBL.
“I know that the length or number of games is a topic people like to talk about, But we think the way we have set it up this year is really strong and people will be engaged,” he said.
The Australian Cricketers Association said it’s position on the length of the season, which is that it’s too long, was “well know”.
But the ACA also acknowledged the current challenges in developing a schedule in “these extraordinary circumstances”.
Big Bash officials are still working on a proposal for a player draft for internationals, among other “innovations” which could include free hits for wides, substitutes and bonus points.
Several options are also being considered to avoid last year’s final farce, which was impacted by severe Sydney rain the days before and on match day.
A reserve day is among the considerations.
Spin star Nathan Lyon in last year’s BBL final. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins) NSource:AAP
Dobson said the ever-changing COVID-19 situation could yet have an impact on international player availability.
“We’re working closely with the relative authorities and our own experts to make sure the protocols and relative exemptions are in place,” he said.
“The ability practically for players to be able to travel here, the quarantine requirement that will inevitably play a role in that, are all things we are spending a lot of time on at the moment.
“We are optimistic of having overseas players part of both competitions and there are a number of things we have in place to give ourselves the best shot of doing that.”
The earlier start date was also designed to give BBL officials “flexibility” should the coronavirus situation demand changes to the schedule, in either timing or locations.
We spoke to Stars General Manager Nick Cummins to answer some of your questions related to today’s fixture announcement.#TeamGreen
Dobson said BBL officials had learned a lot from the football codes, and the way they have reacted to the changing environment.
With a Test series against India scheduled to run through December in to January, then two white-ball series to follow, the presence of stars like David Warner and Pat Cummins in the BBL again seems unlikely.
Dobson said it was an “annual discussion” about how to get them involved, but an answer this year was too hard.
“On the face of it, it looks difficult this year. Our discussions with the ACA are that players always want to be part of the BBL if they can. It’s an ongoing consideration,” he said.
“That’s something to consider in the future. Our focus in the off-season has been overseas players and continuing to find ways to bring them in.
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