Major revamp in structure of BBL; WBBL to witness the inaugural draft

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Cricket Australia (CA) has announced changes to the structure of the Big Bash League (BBL) for its 13th edition. The competition will be shortened to 44 games, with 40 home and away league matches and four-match finals involving the top four teams. The exact format of the finals is yet to be confirmed. These changes were initially planned to be implemented under the new TV rights deal, but CA decided to advance them a year in advance.

The Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), however, will remain unchanged, featuring a 59-game competition with 56 league matches and three finals.

Alistair Dobson, the General Manager of Big Bash Leagues at CA, has stated that the decision to shorten the BBL will provide more flexibility to ensure the best possible fixture for clubs and fans.

“A shortened BBL will allow us greater flexibility to ensure we can deliver the best possible fixture for clubs and fans, while providing a platform that allows players to continue to produce the world-class levels of cricket we’ve seen over the duration of the tournament,” Dobson said in his official statement.

Though the WBBL schedule remains unaffected for now, Dobson emphasized the importance of keeping the tournament at the forefront of T20 leagues, considering the rapid evolution of the global women’s game.

“Whilst no changes have been made to the WBBL schedule, it’s vital that we make sure the tournament continues to be at the forefront of T20 Leagues as the global women’s game continues to evolve at a rapid rate,” he added.

The WBBL structure will be continually reviewed and evaluated for potential future changes.

“As a League we’re always reviewing and looking at ways we can evolve, adapt and innovate, and as part of that, we’ll continue to consider the structure of the WBBL season.”

CA also introduced new features to the BBL and WBBL. In the BBL, teams will have the ability to trade draft picks, with the draft order being determined through a lottery prior to the season. The inaugural WBBL draft will take place in September. Additionally, both leagues will have a week-long retention window, allowing clubs to secure the re-signing of up to 12 men’s and 10 women’s players, including those who have already signed multi-year deals. This retention window begins on May 15 and concludes on May 22, coinciding with the lifting of the contracting embargo and the commencement of the trade period.

The above mentioned changes aim to enhance the competitiveness and appeal of the BBL and WBBL, providing a platform for players to showcase their talents while delivering an exciting experience for fans.

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