UAE T20 poses huge threat to BBL future

·3-min read

Cricket Australia's biggest threat to a revitalised Big Bash League has been laid bare with the UAE Twenty20 competition reportedly set to welcome 72 overseas players in January.

In a move likely to shake up franchise cricket, the UAE league is poised to be second only to the IPL in terms of pay and with the most internationals of any league worldwide.

The competition, which begins on January 6, will also clash directly with the second half of the BBL season.

The league is attempting to lure David Warner out of Australia during the BBL in what looms as a crucial moment ahead of pay talks next year.

Warner would need a non-objection certificate to play in the overseas league, something CA would likely be unwilling to give up while the opener opts out of the Australian league at the same time.

Warner aside, CA will have the majority of their national stars available for this summer's tournament with only the quicks likely to rest up.

But equally crucial to the success of the BBL is the pulling power of the overseas stars.

CA has been happy with their recruitment for next month's inaugural overseas draft with more than 170 names already locked in.

Faf du Plessis currently headlines that list, while BBL bosses revealed big-name English talent this week and are closing in on more Pakistan stars.

But the UAE looms as a serious threat now and into the future.

According to global cricket website ESPNCricinfo, each of the six teams in the UAE league will be able to welcome 12 overseas players into their 18-man squad.

Cricketers will also be paid in tiers, with the highest-ranked players to earn close to $650,000 a season to feature in the tournament with loyalty bonuses included.

All tier-one players will attract a minimum of $450,000 per season, tier-two players $370,000 and tier-three $315,000 before dropping off further.

In comparison, the highest-paid overseas international in the BBL draft will earn a maximum of $340,000.

The reality is players could start the summer in the BBL before moving to claim overseas riches part way through the Australian tournament.

Three of the UAE teams are also owned by IPL franchises, while South Africa's clubs for their T20 league next January have also been bought out by cash-rich IPL sides.

CA has long been able to bank on the financial security of the BBL to lure players, as well as the Australian summer now that COVID-bubbles are no more.

"There's lots of other cricket and the opportunities for players around the world is greater than ever before," BBL boss Alistair Dobson told AAP earlier this month.

"But we're in a really competitive position, whether that's from a pay perspective, but probably more importantly from a lifestyle and enjoyment perspective.

"The best stadiums, the best lifestyle, the best crowds are the things the agents mainly talk to us about."

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