In the BBL 13 overseas player draft, the Melbourne Stars made the first pick by selecting T20 star Rashid Khan as their No. 1 choice. However, the story took a familiar twist as the Adelaide Strikers swiftly exercised their retention option for Khan, who had been their standout leg-spinner in the previous season.
This déjà vu moment mirrors a similar situation from the previous season when Khan was initially picked by the Stars but ended up staying with the Strikers. As a result, Khan is set to don the Strikers’ jersey once again.
While Khan will stay with the Strikers, the Stars secured Harry Brook as their second pick. Meanwhile, Sydney Sixers retained Tom Curran, and The Hobart Hurricanes added the experienced Chris Jordan to their roster. The Melbourne Renegades acquired the explosive batting skills of Quinton de Kock, and the Sydney Thunder bolstered their squad with the inclusion of Alex Hales.
The draft results have further boosted the excitement as teams make strategic selections for their roster.
Reconsidered boycotting stance
Strikers coach Jason Gillespie joked that it would have been dire if the team had not retained Khan after the draft announcement.
“That’s exactly right, I wouldn’t have been allowed back into South Australia,” he said jokingly. He further described the retaining decision as a “no-brainer.”
Khan, who is the world’s top-ranked T20 international bowler, seems to have been enticed by the prospect of a seventh season in the Big Bash League. He is set to become one of the most prominent picks in this year’s draft.
Khan had previously hinted at the possibility of not returning to the KFC BBL. The Afghanistan-born expressed dissatisfaction with Cricket Australia’s cancellation of a scheduled ODI series against his country in January.
“I am really disappointed to hear that Australia have pulled out of the series to play us in March,” Rashid said in his statement at the time. “I take great pride in representing my country, and we have made great progress on the world stage.”
Khan had strongly objected to Cricket Australia’s cancellation, mainly in response to the Taliban’s decision to prohibit girls’ university education in Afghanistan. He openly conveyed his disappointment and unease with Australia’s decision.
However, he has since reconsidered his stance. Rashid has consistently been in the Strikers’ squad since his breakout season in BBL 07 when he emerged as the leading wicket-taker.
Stars, Sixers, and Hurricanes make moves
After missing Khan, the Stars’ acquired Brook, whose exceptional talent shines through as he stands as the sole cricketer to have notched centuries in the IPL, PSL, and The Hundred. Before the recent Ashes series, Brook had already made his mark in the cricketing world, but he left an indelible impression with a series of game-changing performances.
Although he has yet to make a significant impact on par with Khan’s in the BBL, the former Hurricanes player is now poised to ignite BBL 13 with his explosive skills.
The Hurricanes made a valiant effort to secure Brook, but the Sixers were unwavering in their stance. A vital part of the Sixers’ squad over the years, Tom Curran withdrew from BBL 11 midway due to a lower back stress fracture, and his absence from the Australian cricket scene has been notable.
Renowned for his astute bowling in critical moments, Curran earned a place in the BBL 09 team of the tournament. He is returning fresh from an impressive campaign in The Hundred, where he excelled with both bat and ball for Oval Invincibles.
The Hurricanes secured Jordan instead, who has represented four BBL clubs (Strikers, Scorchers, Sixers, Thunder). The league has seen his performance levels dip slightly in recent seasons with the Sixers.
However, his vast experience as one of the world’s most reliable death bowlers makes him a valuable addition to any team in this draft. Despite being 34 years old, Jordan continues to play a significant role at the international level. He is still a dependable choice for teams seeking a seasoned campaigner.
Renegades acquired de Kock, who is known as one of the world’s most destructive opening batters with a rock-solid technique. The South African cricketer emerges as a marquee name in this year’s draft, marking his debut in the BBL.
A renowned figure in T20 cricket, the South African cricketer most recently showcased his skills for the Seattle Orcas in Major League Cricket. He delivered impressive performances during the qualifying final and final, scoring 88 and an unbeaten 87, respectively. With over 300 T20 appearances to his name, this left-handed powerhouse boasts a remarkable record of six centuries and 57 half-centuries.