CA allows BBL clubs to sign players outside of their salary cap

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By Webdesk

Cricket Australia will allow Big Bash clubs to sign nationally contracted players beyond their salary cap to avoid the Steven Smith fiascos of the past two seasons.

Under rules revealed by CA on Wednesday, players will be able to sign with individual clubs on an additional roster if they are expected to be unavailable to play.

If the player’s circumstances change, they can be included in the BBL club’s full-time roster to participate in matches. The rules are part of a series of contract changes for the men’s and women’s BBL, including the introduction of an overseas player draw in the WBBL in the same model as the men’s tournament.

The highest paid foreign male player will receive $420,000 in the draft, while the female counterparts will collect $110,000 to significantly increase the appeal of the leagues.

Clubs will also have to pay their top six male earners a minimum of $200,000 each, and top five female players $50,000 each. But the biggest change will come with nationally contracted male stars.

Franchises can sign as many as they want within the $3 million salary cap for their regular 18-man roster, as well as two additional players outside the cap. Those players would have a standardized $50,000 deal.

If they do eventually play, only their $50,000 deal and $30,000 match fees will count towards the limit. If the player becomes unavailable due to unforeseen circumstances, CA also allows clubs to take money from the next season’s cap to fit them in.

That would probably only be triggered for any player dropped from Australian duties, or if international matches were to change. The new rule would cover both Smith scenarios over the past two years, with Covid-19 causing the cancellation of a series in early 2022, and home ODIs earlier this year.

Smith was unable to play for the Sixers in 2021-22 as he was not signed with them, while he and David Warner were awarded marketing contracts last summer to play for the Sixers and Sydney Thunder respectively.

The new system would also allow the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins to align with clubs and appear in marketing materials, with the quicks traditionally serving out the BBL to manage workload.

CA hopes the changes open the door to more big-name play as clubs run out of roster spots and significant cap space is taken up by unavailable players with Tests in January this summer.

“It is always our ambition to have as many of those players as possible part of the BBL,” said Big Bash boss Alistair Dobson. “We hope the mechanisms will allow clubs to sign players even if they are unlikely or unavailable. Because it’s a really important part of the competition for us to have them around the BBL and ready when they are available.”

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