The Sydney Thunders have struck gold this year as they have a chance to be the team that picks a player first in the WBBL foreign player draft. Thunders finished last in the previous edition of WBBL.
The order of the spins was determined by a two-tier weighted lottery system. The lottery system was such that the teams that failed to reach the final in the previous edition competed for the first selection, followed by the teams that played in the final.
Melbourne Renegades have the rights to the second selection, followed by Perth Scorchers, who will get the third selection. The reigning champions, the Adelaide Strikers, got the last pick, while last year’s runners-up, the Sydney Sixers, got the penultimate pick. Hobart Hurricanes and Brisbane Heat got the fifth and sixth selection respectively.
This year’s draft will take place on September 3, 2023 (Sunday). The draft will consist of 4 rounds and each team will be able to opt for a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 3 players in total. The first two rounds will follow the order obtained by lottery. The order in the last 2 rounds will be swapped and the team with the last pick in round 2 will pick first in round 3.
This is the first time a draft has been held in WBBL history. Previously, teams used to sign players directly by contacting them. After the success of the draft system for foreign players in BBL, the organizers decided to introduce it in WBBL as well.
The growth of other leagues such as the Hundred and the WPL was also an instrumental factor in making this decision since players’ salaries had to be increased. Each team will have to sign a minimum of 5 Featured Players, and Featured Players will be defined as a player who earns $50,000 or more in a season, regardless of whether they are a domestic or foreign player.
When the decision to hold the draft for foreign players was announced, BBL General Manager Alistair Dobson stressed the importance of the WPL in making this decision, saying, “As we look at those examples and weigh them against what we think that a draft could offer in the WBBL, we quickly came to the conclusion that it was the right thing to do.”
He also added, (we looked at) the impact the draft had on the BBL, not just from a player perspective, but also the opportunity to build interest and profile for players in the competition. That was certainly something we saw value in for the WBBL.”
The Sydney Thunders are hoping to get some draft stars to avoid the disappointment of last year.
This draft is going to be instrumental in laying the right foundation for this year’s WBBL, which is scheduled to kick off on October 19, 2023, with the first game being played by the Sydney Sixers and Melbourne Stars.
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