BBL schedule close to being finalised

Cricket Australia's BBL boss Alistair Dobson says they are close to finalising a schedule.
Cricket Australia's BBL boss Alistair Dobson says they are close to finalising a schedule.

BBL organisers are confident they will soon release a schedule catering for the needs of TV broadcasters, having already agreed to splash the cash and recruit more international talent.

Cricket Australia has confirmed clubs will each be able to sign three foreign stars for the 10th edition of the Twenty20 tournament, one more than previous seasons.

Squads will now feature 19 players, with retainers for the additional overseas player to sit outside the salary cap.

The league's broadcasters Seven and Foxtel had pushed for the change, which should improve the standard of the BBL if it delivers more top-level talent to Australia this summer.

Seven, which is seeking a major reduction in broadcast fees as part of a contract dispute with CA, has also recently pointed to the absence of an updated fixture list as a major concern.

CA plans on locking away India's tour program before rubber stamping a BBL schedule.

Thursday's confirmation that Virat Kohli's squad will be allowed to train while quarantining in Sydney suggests final dates for that trip are imminent.

Big Bash League boss Alistair Dobson is bullish there will also be "some announcements in the coming days or week as well, around the BBL schedule".

"We're making good progress," Dobson told reporters.

"We always work incredibly closely with both Seven and Foxtel on the schedule. What they want in the schedule is really no different to any other year.

"Great nights of cricket, lots of prime-time action ... and to the degree we can, games in multiple markets and in each state. So we can have crowds cheering on their home teams as much as possible.

"Obviously this year it will be unique, there's likely to be some games in ... neutral venues."

The entire WBBL, which starts on Sunday, will be played in Sydney.

The BBL is expected to follow a similar biosecurity model, but will be staged in several different cities.

Opener Jason Roy on Friday became the latest Englishman to sign up for 2020-21, joining Perth Scorchers.

Dobson wouldn't be drawn on potential international recruits such as Chris Gayle, but confirmed there was hope that a trans-Tasman bubble could make it easier for New Zealand stars to take part in the BBL.

India's cricket board has traditionally refused to release players under its umbrella for foreign T20 competitions, but could potentially soften that stance given COVID-19 has curtailed its upcoming domestic season.

"We'd love to have the best players from around the world play ... if that opportunity comes up we'll take it," Dobson said.

Australian Associated Press