Amid lingering fallout from a failed attempt to get Steve Smith into the Big Bash, big change could be afoot.
The silver lining in the Sydney Sixers that failed at the last minute to get Steve Smith for the Big Bash final is that the same situation may never happen again.
Despite the loss of batsman Daniel Hughes to a leg injury, and both Jack and Mickey Edwards to Covid since the game in Perth, Smith, who was blocked from joining the team because he was not part of the official player replacement pool, can still still don’t join the Sixers.
The Sixers will instead have to dive into the player substitution pool to ensure they have adequate coverage for any further issues ahead of Wednesday’s preliminary final showdown with the Adelaide Strikers at the SCG.
But it could be the last time BBL teams are hampered by a growing push for all contracted Cricket Australia players to align with a Big Bash club to ensure that when they are available, the best possible players in the league.
The idea will be part of the discussions in the next player payment agreement, which was previously put forward as a mere idea.
In the wake of last week’s heavily criticized decision to prevent the Sixers from bringing in Smith, it’s clear the plan is likely to make more sense once wage talks begin.
It could also mean that Big Bash teams don’t have to spend large chunks of their salary cap on players who may only be available for small portions of the tournament, leaving them open to chasing more big-name internationals, another area in which the BBL was missing this season.
Sixers players and staff were outraged last week when the bid to name Smith for a Saturday final against the Perth Scorchers was blocked because he was not part of the official player replacement pool, which was hastily formed in January with the consent of all teams , to help those parties hard hit by Covid admissions.
Smith, a former Sixers captain, had not been signed by the club before the season started and despite the outcry, CA did not change the rule to accommodate the back-to-back champions.
The Strikers were able to win back Test stars Travis Head and Alex Carey for the final, as they were on the Adelaide squad and they will play against the Sixers at the SCG.
Captain Peter Siddle said rules “must be followed” when asked about the situation in Smith on Monday.
“It’s probably no different than having ‘Heady’ and ‘Cez’ (Test players Travis Head and Alex Carey) under contract for the whole season and then available. I think that’s the risk you take sometimes.
“That’s the risk we took by having them on contract and taking two places. It’s great that they play to represent their country and get selected, so we have to deal with that all season, what we have.
“So I guess it’s just rules, right? They sometimes need to be followed. Obviously they just fell a little late for the Sixers. ”
The current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was fought over during sometimes ugly negotiations until 2017, will expire in July 2022.
Under the current agreement, CA must award a minimum of 17 and a maximum of 20 male contracts each year. As part of the new rewards agreement, each of these players can then be linked to a BBL team as part of their central contract.
While the BBL often clashes with Test series, making players unavailable, CA does its best to ensure there are no clashes with international white ball cricket.
For example, the abandoned one-day and T20 series against New Zealand this summer would start on January 30, two days after the Big Bash ended.