English batter Liam Livingstone was the first pick in the first draft round for this year’s Big Bash League (BBL) and has been chosen to play for the Melbourne Renegades after a weighted lottery.
He was one of four Englishmen selected, along with international team-mates Sam Billings, Chris Jordan, and David Willey.
In fact, Livingstone is set to enjoy a highly lucrative winter. He, along with another England colleague, Jos Buttler, have been announced as the marquee signings for the new, as yet, unnamed T20 competition, where they are both set to earn US $500,000 apiece.
It is further proof, if any were needed, of the potential riches available to elite players in franchise cricket.
What is the BBL?
Arguably the most successful franchise tournament after the India T20 league, the BBL (Big Bash League), which was formed in 2011, consists of eight teams based in six cities (Melbourne and Sydney due to their size both have two each).
It is usually played in December and early January to avoid any clashes with Australia’s international commitments.
The Melbourne Renegades
Although they won the competition for the first time in their history in the 2018 – 2019 season, the renegades have struggled since then, and have finished with the wooden spoon on three consecutive occasions, something that earned them the first pick in this year’s draft.
Among the names that have appeared for them in the past are Faf du Plessis, Chris Gayle, Ben Stokes and Muttiah Muralitharan.
Why have they chosen Livingstone?
The Renegades head coach David Saker made it clear that Livingstone was the player that his team wanted all along. The Cumbrian is no stranger to Indian audiences, having played in the Indian T20 league for the Punjab Kings this season and, before that, for the Rajasthan Royals.
He also knows the BBL very well, having played previously for the Perth Scorchers, playing 28 matches for them where he struck 55 sixes and also took nine wickets with his leg spin. That makes him doubly useful to his new team, and, with him now in the side, they are hoping he can bring about a change of fortunes this time round.
Other Platinum Selections
Livingstone, along with his three English colleagues, was in the category of players in the elite Platinum category, which means that they are the top earners. Apart from them, the Adelaide Strikers chose to retain Afghan all-rounder Rashid Khan, whilst Pakistan namesake Shadab has been chosen by the Hobart Hurricanes. Meanwhile, New Zealand quick bowler, Trent Boult, who recently announced that he was scaling back his international commitments, was drafted by the Melbourne Stars.
The Scorchers, who are the defending champions, chose to pass on picking a platinum pick, preferring to keep their money and reinforce their roster later in the process.
Other Draft Categories
Apart from Platinum, there were three other categories of player featured in the overseas draft – gold, silver and bronze. Those nominated in the gold category can expect to earn up to US $200,000, silver US $175,000, and bronze US $100,000.
Each team is allowed to choose a maximum of three overseas players. However, until such time as the BCCI relaxes its strict policy, no Indians, past or present, will play in the BBL – or, indeed, in any overseas franchise tournament.
There are also four English players who have been selected in the golden category – Joe Clarke, who will play for the Melbourne Stars, James Vince drafted by the Sydney Sixers and Alex Hayles, who will be heading across the city to the Sydney Thunder. Meanwhile, batter Laurie Evans has been retained by the Scorchers.
There are also two Kiwis – Colin Munro will be playing for the Brisbane Heat, whilst Colin de Grandhomme will call the Adelaide Strikers his temporary home.
Another Pakistani, Asif Ali will be playing his trade with the Hobart Hurricanes, whilst Afghan Mujeeb ur-Rahman will join Livingstone at the Renegades.
This year’s BBL is scheduled to begin In Canberra on December 13th. The final will take place on February 4th, 2023.
The league stages will see each team play the other franchises twice, and then there will be a five match knock-out competition to decide the two finalists.
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