Sydney Sixers are back-to-back BBL champions and hope to have a settled list © Getty Images
Sydney Sixers coach Greg Shipperd isn’t in favour of the proposed BBL draft for out of the country players and admitted the uncertainty over how it could work has added a layer of complexity to planning for next year’s competition where the club will aim for a hat-trick of titles.
Plans for a player draft were put on hold final year because of the pandemic but it is expected to be added to the tournament for this season even if Shipperd, who signed a two-year contract extension with the Sixers on Thursday, said details were still thin on the ground.
The Sixers have Tom Curran locked in as a part of a three-year deal (he sat out final season due the complexity of traveling throughout Covid-19) and they’re hopeful of having James Vince return after he scored 537 runs at 38.35 in final season’s crusade.
“I realize there’s been meetings going on…but there’s been no finality and no crystallisation of any position that I’m aware of these days,” Shipperd said. “We’re hanging on the edge trying to understand whether there’s a draft or not, if there’s two or three international players, how many domestic players, any rule changes. All of those things are being juggled in the back of the scenes but none of them have consolidated to the point where we will be able to start to strategise around that.
“My personal preference is to go out and source your players as we’ve done up to now, but I am not certain whether that position is universally held across other coaches or franchises. I like to fit the people I source to the people and combinations and personalities in our group and be in reality particular around that.
“That’s served us very, very mannered and a draft takes a bit of that preparedness out of play. I’d be a little bit nervous approximately how that every one unfolds and I am hoping that those deliberating around if or not it does go ahead canvas all possibilities around how you’ll make the media attention around the draft…by proposing an alternative method.”
Will have to the draft come into being, one element that has been proposed is a system that allows clubs to keep out of the country players they have got had lengthy associates with such as Rashid Khan at Adelaide Strikers. That could help the Sixers retain Vince with Shipperd lucid that club loyalty and keeping his squad together is a high precedence.
“I like to supply stability inside my groups and that is the reason why we signed Tom Curran straightaway once we saw the quality of him as a young player, a young man and young leader inside our group – we wanted him for a long-term,” he said. “James Vince has hit that zone as mannered so I would be disappointed whether, potentially, we missed the possibility to have either one of those players in our franchise this year as a result of the quirk on the draft.
“Conversations have been had but our squad is going to look very similar from a domestic point of view. I’m a big believer in, as best as we will be able to, giving this group that has achieved such a lot in the final two years a strong crack at a third possibility. Some would say that’s a big risk but there’s numerous faith in the group from our coaching staff that they are good enough to do it again.”
Greg Shipperd is hopeful of having James Vince return for another season © Getty Images
With the men’s Ashes series running until January 18 then a limited-overs visit by New Zealand starting at the end of that month, Shipperd isn’t expecting to see much, whether anything, of those involved in the national squads.
Final season Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc were contracted but did not play a match because of the restrictions of moving between bubbles, with Starc later agreeing not to participate in the last so as not to disrupt a successful team. In a testimony to the group put together by Shipperd, Moises Henriques and Sean Abbott were also away for a large a part of the steady season. The preceding summer Lyon, Josh Hazlewood and Steven Smith all appeared in the latter stages of the tournament.
“This year I think it’s probably going to be the worst year for availability for our international players, provided where we predict the tournament will be played with a remarkable Ashes series,” Shipperd said. “I’m tipping those big name international players are unlikely to be to be had for us which is again just a problem that confronts us each season. And it is a difficult problem to ever solve for the reason that the international programme is the one who takes precedence.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.