BBL 2022-23 could face player drought; 15 Australians offered AUD 700,000 to feature in UAE's ILT20
The ILT20 will be held in UAE next year. Meanwhile, 15 Australian players have been offered a contract worth AU$700,000, which could cloud their participation in the BBL 2022-23.
The International League T20 (ILT20) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has reportedly offered 15 top Australian cricketers a whopping AU$700,000 deal to skip the Big Bash League (BBL) 2022-23. The dates of the two tournaments are overlapping, which has caused considerable tension in Cricket Australia (CA). The BBL will be played between December 13 and February 4, while the inaugural edition of the ILT20 is planned from January 6 to February 12, making it practically unattainable for the Australian players to partake in both.
According to a Sydney Morning Herald report, "As many as 15 Australian players have been offered contracts worth up to AUD 700,000 a year to abandon the Big Bash League and play in the UAE Twenty20 tournament in January." Most of the top Aussies have no obligation to play the BBL under their extant central contract, with David Warner not having played a single edition since 2014.
The BBL's highest payment from the Draft has been D'arcy Short's US$258,000 (AU$370,000), and the coffers, compared to what has been paid to marquee Australian players in the Indian Premier League (IPL), have been significantly lesser. But, with Indian IPL owners investing in UAE and Cricket South Africa (CSA) T20 leagues, the BBL will need to redraft its pay structure to keep the best in the business prying.
According to Australian newspapers 'The Age' and 'Sydney Morning Herald' by senior cricket sources, "the scale of the attempted raid on Australian players goes far beyond the threat of losing one player David Warner to the UAE because he does not have a BBL deal."
The paper also revealed: "UAE contract sizes so far above and beyond what has been on offer in the BBL have placed Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association under pressure to reassure players that they are not being left behind the rest of the world by remaining loyal to the game in this country."
However, it is learnt that CA, eager to retain the sheen and quality of the BBL, is keen on marking a lucrative one-off deal with Warner that could prevent him from playing in the ILT20. "While CA is talking with Warner about finding a way to get him back into the BBL this summer, the governing body's chief executive Nick Hockley and his player union counterpart Todd Greenberg have been fielding countless calls from players about the offers," SMH further reported.
Greenberg discerns that the Australian players are not "mercenaries" and would ultimately take a publicised and evolved judgment. "They do have this genuine sense of care about the game. They would be mercenaries and take what's in front of them if they didn't," he said.
"But, they're not. They're [Australians] taking a mature, considered approach to this and trying to be part of the solution. It comes down to establishing trust with your players and developing relationships with them," Greenberg said. But he didn't forget that CA needs to do something about the wage cap.
"I know CA have to stay within the salary cap principles for any player, including Dave (Warner). But they've got to try to make the best offer they can to keep him here. It's a balance of trying to make sure you're attracting your best players, and there's some equity in the system and the model so that all of them have the opportunity to play and are remunerated accordingly," concluded Greenberg.
(With inputs from PTI)