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Cricket superstars not selected in Big Bash League's first overseas draft

A host of international stars have been ignored in the inaugural Big Bash League overseas player draft, leaving England's Liam Livingstone as the number one platinum pick.

Faf Du Plessis, Jason Roy, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and Dwayne Bravo were listed as platinum players, but none could find a BBL home.

Why did teams avoid the big names?

The backdrop to last night's draft was the changed shape of cricket around the world, with two new tournaments having a big impact on the game.

South Africa's new domestic competition, known for now as the CSA T20 League — with former Proteas captain Graeme Smith as the league commissioner — will begin in January, a time normally dominated by the Big Bash.

The league has close links to the IPL, with all six franchises owned by consortiums from the Indian league which is the biggest in the world.

At the same time in the United Arab Emirates, the International League T20 competition will begin, also backed by big money and set to involve plenty of star international cricketers.

With competition fierce for the signatures of big-name players, CA designed the Big Bash League draft to give franchises a big nudge toward signing one of the "platinum" players.

Each player selected in the platinum category earns $340,000.

The players picked up in the gold ($260,000), silver ($175,000) and bronze ($100,000) rounds also earn handy paydays.

The move didn't work. While the Strikers held on to Rashid Khan, and the Melbourne Renegades grabbed Livingstone — who had been playing previously with last year's champions the Perth Scorchers — Russell, Du Plessis and Bravo did not attract bids.

Instead, teams focused on picking players who were available for the entire tournament rather than ones with the profile required to get fans through the gates.

"Well you're looking for continuity through the season," former Test skipper and Hobart's head of strategy Ricky Ponting said when asked about the tactics involved in selecting players.

"The challenge the BBL teams have faced the last few years has been the international players coming in and out.

"You get two or three games out of one, and then you have to try to fill that slot with someone of a similar role and ability, and that's pretty hard to do.

'And if these players are coming in and out, you've got to have money to fill their voids as well. When you're trying to balance the salary cap, it's not easy to do."

Looking past the international draft, domestic stars like Chris Lynn have opted to head overseas during the tournament and will not be available for all games.

Last week, Lynn was announced as a signing for the Adelaide Strikers. He will be available to play for Adelaide in 10 games this season.

England's Liam Livingstone became the number one platinum pick after being chosen by the Melbourne Renegades.

"Our plan was always to retain Rashid," said Strikers coach Jason Gillespie.

"Wonderful player, wonderful person. He's been brilliant for our franchise over a number of years, and [we're] absolutely delighted to have him back."

The Stars turned to plan B to select star New Zealand paceman Trent Boult. The Brisbane Heat used pick number three to lure Englishman Sam Billings, with the Sydney Thunder deciding against using their retention pick.

The Sydney Sixers selected Chris Jordan at pick four, while the Perth Scorchers pulled off a big shock when they passed on their number six pick in the platinum round.

The Scorchers eventually used their retention pick to keep Laurie Evans in the second round, while they snared Phil Salt in the third round and left-arm paceman Tymal Mills in the fourth round.

Evans was the hero for the Scorchers in last season's grand final win, while Mills has played for the team before.

The Sydney Thunder went with David Willey at number seven given he will be available for all of the season.

Hobart had the last pick in the platinum round and they went with Pakistan's Shadab Khan.

Renegades star Aaron Finch was thrilled his team landed Livingstone.

"It was a no-brainer for us," Finch said.

"What he offers with the bat is exceptional. And what he delivers in the field and with the ball, being able to bowl legspin and offspin, I think he's a beautiful fit for the Renegades."

Each team needed to select a minimum of two and a maximum of three players from the draft.

They must finalise their squads before the season begins on December 13.


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