Steve Smith's truth bomb for Cricket Australia over $6 million drama

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Steve Smith is pictured walking out for Australia at a Test match.
Steve Smith says Cricket Australia must ensure in future that the BBL looks after local players first and foremost after last weekend's draft. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Former Australian captain Steve Smith says Cricket Australia needs to do more for local players competing in the BBL, after the league's inaugural draft was met with mixed reviews this week.

The BBL has joined the IPL in holding a pre-season draft this year, with some 270 players registering prior to Sunday's draft.

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Eight overseas players were selected in the opening 'platinum round' of selections, however there were some notable exceptions such as Faf du Plessis and Andre Russell who went undrafted.

The $6 million draft was hoped to bring some more competitive balance to the league, but the addition of lucrative T20 leagues in the UAE and South Africa has caused headaches for BBL organisers.

Teams were wary of drafting top international players for fear they would not play out the full season in favour of competing elsewhere, while Smith said it was local players who were hard done by.

Speaking ahead of Australia's second ODI match against Zimbabwe, Smith said while it was likely too soon to say how much of an impact the draft had on the game, CA would be better off prioritising home-grown players who were keen to stick around for the whole season.

"I think it's interesting. I don't know what the best way forward is," Smith said of the draft.

"In terms of tournaments around the world, you have to look after your local players, I think, most importantly.

"Seeing some of the players that are coming out for some big cash, I know a few of the local players that are big players are a little bit disappointed in terms of renumeration for the tournament.

"I think there's going to have to be a way around that to keep your local players happy. And I'm sure it's something that's going to be looked at."

The BBL's salary cap for the forthcoming season is $1.9m with platinum players selected in the draft given $340,000 contracts - $160,000 of which goes towards the cap.

The memorandum of understanding pay deal between players and Cricket Australia expires next year with player pay and the BBL salary cap expected to form part of negotiations in the next 12 months.

BBL draft criticised as top players miss out on selection

Faf du Plessis, Jason Roy, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and Dwayne Bravo were all ignored in the inaugural BBL draft due to their unavailability for the back end of the season.

Cricket Australia's hopes that the biggest names in the world would be snapped up weren't realised, with BBL clubs prioritising players who will still be available for the finals.

The hope was that Du Plessis and co would bring flagging crowds flocking back to the BBL, but the South African star will be playing in a new T20 league in his home country during the BBL finals.

The likes of Roy, Pollard, Russell and Bravo would also only be available for three-quarters of the BBL after opting to play in a new T20 competition in the UAE this summer.

"Well you're looking for continuity through the season," former Test captain and Hobart's head of strategy Ricky Ponting said when asked about the tactics involved in selecting players.

"The challenge the BBL teams have faced the last few years has been the international players coming in and out.

"You get two or three games out of one, and then you have to try to fill that slot with someone of a similar role and ability, and that's pretty hard to do.

"And if these players are coming in and out, you've got to have money to fill their voids as well. When you're trying to balance the salary cap, it's not easy to do."

Representatives from the eight Big Bash League teams are pictured at the draft.
The BBL held its inaugural draft last weekend, with mor than 270 players registering to be selected. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

England's Liam Livingstone became the No.1 Platinum pick after being chosen by the Melbourne Renegades.

"It was a no-brainer for us," captain Aaron Finch said.

"What he offers with the bat is exceptional. And what he delivers in the field and with the ball, being able to bowl legspin and offspin, I think he's a beautiful fit for the Renegades."

The Melbourne Stars used their prized second pick to nominate Rashid Khan, but the Adelaide Strikers exercised their retention pick to keep the star Afghanistan spinner.

"I was thinking of Darryl Kerrigan, 'tell him he's dreaming'," Strikers coach Jason Gillespie joked in reference to the famous 1997 Australian movie The Castle.

"Our plan was always to retain Rashid. Wonderful player, wonderful person. He's been brilliant for our franchise over a number of years, and absolutely delighted to have him back."

With AAP

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