BBL to feature Overseas Player Draft | Sydney Thunder - BBL
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BBL to feature Overseas Player Draft

22 June 2022

Sam Billings // Getty

The recruitment of overseas stars to the KFC BBL will be revolutionised this season with the introduction of the KFC BBL|12 Draft.

The Draft, to be held in coming months, will give the Thunder and other clubs the opportunity to recruit up to three primary overseas players for their KFC BBL|12 lists.

Nominations for the Draft have opened today to players from across the world. The League, the Thunder and other clubs have been in positive conversations with players and agents for some time and look forward to announcing the first nominations soon.

Additionally, the BBL|12 contracting embargo has now been lifted, meaning clubs are able to enter binding discussions with Australian players. There are no changes to the mechanisms by which domestic players are recruited.

International stars have played a huge part in Sydney Thunder’s surge to three straight BBL finals with Alex Hales (BBL|10) and Sam Billings (BBL|11) named the club’s player of the season over the last two summers.

The pair were at the forefront for the Thunder in BBL|11 and were joined by exciting fast bowlers Saqib Mahmood (ENG) and Muhammad Hasnain (PAK).

Over the years Thunder have featured some of world cricket’s biggest overseas names including Chris Gayle, Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Jacques Kallis, Jason Roy and Andre Russell.

Head of Sydney Thunder Andrew Gilchrist said the Thunder have seen a host of international stars make meaningful contributions throughout the BBL.

“This Overseas Player Draft is something the BBL has been working towards for some time and adds another exciting element to the tournament,” Gilchrist said.

“The Thunder has had some incredible imports that have made a real difference to our Club and communities in Western Sydney, Regional NSW and the ACT over the last decade and few have been better than Sam Billings and Alex Hales over the last few seasons.

“If we can pick up a few players from this draft that can offer anything like the contributions that they have, we will be in a good place.”

Alistair Dobson, Cricket Australia’s General Manager of Big Bash Leagues, was similarly buoyant about the BBL’s latest enhancement.

“KFC BBL|12 is shaping up as the most hotly anticipated season yet, with the best of the Big Bash on display on and off the field,” Dobson said.

“At the forefront of this will be the KFC BBL|12 Draft, which elevates the recruitment of overseas players to a new level.

“The Draft is designed to attract the best available players, excite fans for the upcoming season and provide new opportunities for Clubs and the League. We look forward to announcing the first group of nominations soon.

“We’d like to thank our Clubs and the Australian Cricketers’ Association for working with us on building the Draft and look forward to the event itself in August.”


The KFC BBL|12 Draft is the primary way for Clubs to recruit their overseas players for the upcoming season.


Players from around the world are now able to nominate for the KFC BBL|12 Draft via an online nomination portal, including their availability for part or all of the tournament.

There will be four categories in which players can be selected on Draft night: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. Salaries for each category have been set at globally competitive rates, with Platinum the highest player payment.

The League is engaging in active conversations with players and agents worldwide and will announce further player nominations over the coming weeks.


The Draft order will be decided via a weighted lottery.

The three teams to miss the Finals in KFC BBL|11 will be entered in the first weighted lottery to determine selections one, two and three.

The five finalists from last season will then be drawn for selections four to eight.


The Draft will consist of four rounds with one pick per Club in each.

Clubs may elect to pass in certain rounds, but each Club must pick a minimum of two and maximum of three players by the completion of round four.

Round one is for Platinum players only and will follow the draft order drawn via the above method. Round two will follow the same order as round one, after which rounds three and four will follow a snaking order.


Each club is entitled to one Retention Pick to be used in any round of the Draft.

A player is eligible for retention if they have played a match for that Club the previous season.

Potential retention picks for the Thunder, if they were to nominate for the Draft, include Sam Billings, Alex Hales, Saqib Mahmood and Muhammad Hasnain.


Each Club’s BBL squad will comprise of 18 players, including two or three overseas players from the Draft and the remainder being domestic players.

After the Draft, Clubs will be able to contract up to four replacement overseas players. A player must have nominated for the Draft to be an eligible replacement overseas player.


Details for a huge summer of Big Bash will be confirmed soon, including the announcement of the KFC BBL|12 schedule, memberships and ticket details.

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