Steve Smith fiasco takes new twist as Cricket Australia makes BBL change

The shake-up to the Big Bash will aim to bring in the biggest names from around the world.

Perth Scorchers celebrate the Big Bash win and Steve Smith celebrates a knock.
Cricket Australia has moved to make sure Big Bash players can be signed if they become available during the tournament, which will end the Steve Smith fiasco that occurred in 2021/22. (Getty Images)

Cricket Australia has opted to put an end to the farcical situation that saw Steve Smith miss out on playing for the Sydney Sixers in the 2021/22 BBL season because he was not contracted. In one of the biggest money shake-ups for the T20 competition, under rules unveiled by CA on Wednesday, players will be able to sign with individual clubs on a marquee supplementary list even if they are not expected to be available to play at the start of the comp.

This means that a player can be brought onto the roster for a Big Bash franchise to feature in matches if another player becomes unavailable due to unforeseen circumstances. This could be due to international fixtures falling through, as was the case with Smith in 2021.

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A team will also be able to dip into next season's cap if they need extra money to sign the player. The salary cap has been raised to $3 million for each team, which includes their regular 18-man roster, as well as two additional players outside of the cap.

Those players would be on a standardised $50,000 deal. If they end up playing, only then will their $50,000 deal and $30,000 match fees count to the cap.

This will put an end to the fiasco that saw Smith unable to feature for the Sixers in the 2021/22 finals series. Smith became available due to the cancellation of an ODI series against New Zealand due to Covid-19 reasons.

The Sixers wanted to bring Smith in to play in the BBL finals, however CA said he wasn't able to play because he wasn't under contract with the team. David Warner and Smith were handed marketing contracts last summer to play for the Sydney Thunder and Sixers respectively.

The new system would also allow the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins to be aligned with clubs and appear in marketing material, with the quicks traditionally sitting out the BBL to manage workloads. The Women's Big Bash League will introduce an overseas player draft in the same model as the men's. The highest-paid overseas men's player will command $420,000 in the draft, while the female counterparts will collect $110,000 in a major boost to the pulling power of the competitions.

Matthew Gilkes and David Warner walk out to bat.
Cricket Australia has granted the Big Bash more money in the hope to attract top players for the competition. (Photo by Mark Evans - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Big Bash hoping to attract world's best

CA hope the changes open the door to more big-name talent playing, while allowing clubs to not have roster spots and significant cap space taken up by unavailable players with Tests in January this summer. It's always our ambition for as many of those players to be part of the BBL as possible," Big Bash boss Alistair Dobson said.

"We hope that the mechanisms will enable clubs to sign players even if they are either unlikely or not available. Because having them around the BBL and ready if available, is a really important part of the competition for us."

The Big Bash starts on December 13 with the Perth Scorchers looking to defend their title.

with AAP

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