Overseas player draft a possibility for WBBL08; more prime time matches also on the agenda
Perth Scorchers are the winners of WBBL07 © Getty Images
Cricket Australia will likely consider implementing an overseas player draft for the eighth season of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) as a next step in the development of the competition.
The draft is being looked at as an idea to attract better international players and to spread the talent across the league. Big Bash General Manager, Alistair Dobson, expressed his views on the introduction of the overseas player draft before the next edition of the WBBL.
"It's something we have discussed briefly already," Dobson told Australian Associated Press. "The ability to bring the best players into the competition has always been a strength of the WBBL. If an overseas player draft was a way to continue that position, we would definitely explore it further.”
Player movement in the WBBL is very common and the gap between overseas players and the rest is closer than that of men’s competition. Overseas players will likely be available for the entire WBBL season as there are hardly any clashes with the international schedule.
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"Player movement and public interest around that ... is such a powerful way to build the profile of the competition, as well as the profile of the players," Dobson said. "If you can create mechanisms and events where everyone focuses for a period of time on who is going where, it can only build the strength of the competition."
The organisers also hope to make some changes in the scheduling of the next edition of the competition after witnessing unprecedented attendance for the standalone matches and extremely high viewing numbers as well. More night matches are on the agenda to attract bigger audiences.
"Our ambition would be to maintain our (broadcast) footprint and the next evolution of that is not only to have the big weekends that the WBBL is known for, but also starting to build that blockbuster footprint," Dobson told cricket.com.au. "Next year, whether it's Friday nights or Thursday nights, a bit more regularity in that primetime space is something that I think is the next evolution for next year.”
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The eighth season of the competition will run alongside the men’s T20 World Cup, hosted in Australia in October-November 2022. Dobson admitted that the scheduling of the season will need careful consideration and added that the organisation is ready for the challenge.
"We'll have to work really closely with our broadcasters on how we schedule around that. It's the strongest cricket league in the world for women if not (the strongest) full stop, and we'll work really hard and smartly around how we schedule around that World Cup.”