Confused? How to make sense of international players’ BBL availability

You could be forgiven for getting confused about the window of availability of international players in SuperCoach BBL. It happens every year and confuses coaches every season.

BBL|10 appears a little simpler for a few reasons. Clubs are maturing with recruitment, focusing on signing players who are available for the entirety of the season and the COVID-19 pandemic has meant there’s less international cricket and rival T20 leagues going on during the December-January period too.

In saying that there’s still plenty of moving parts as shown on Tuesday morning as New Zealand Cricket named their Black Caps squad for T20I and Test series against West Indies, while news broke that England’s mooted tour of Pakistan in January would be postponed.

All these announcements trickle down and affect the BBL, but it’s almost impossible to stay across them all, so Honeyball has assembled a list below of the upcoming international tours for each nation and how they may impact you, from a SuperCoach BBL perspective.

And remember BBL|10 runs from December 10 to February 6.

Also Honeyball’s SuperCoach BBL Magazine is OUT NOW! We’ve got an early bird special until midnight Monday 7 December for just $4.95 (less than a coffee, kinda). Purchase yours via this link.

Upcoming Series

Australia
ODI series v India – Nov 27-Dec 2 (Sydney x2, Canberra)
T20I series v India – Dec 4-8 (Canberra, Sydney x2)
Test v Afghanistan (postponed) – Dec 7-11 (Perth)
Test series v India – Dec 17-Jan 15 (Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane)
ODI series v NZ – Jan 26-31 (Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart)
T20I v NZ – Feb 2 (Sydney)

The Aussie national team will remain on Australian shores all December and January, which reduces one complication but it’s a pretty jam-packed summer. The Test squad look like they’ll assemble in Adelaide from December 12 and be together until the end of the Fourth Test. This might mean Mitchell Starc, Marnus Labuschagne and Tim Paine could sneak in a game or two in late January.

The BBL finals are due to be played January 29 to February 6, but have been given clear air as the white ball series against New Zealand has been postponed.

There’s also two three-day Australia A matches against India in Sydney from December 6 and December 11, so note that too. Squads here.

England
T20I series v South Africa – Nov 27-Dec 1 (Cape Town x2, Paarl)
ODI series v South Africa – Dec 4-9 (Cape Town x2, Paarl)
Test series v Sri Lanka – Jan 14-27 (Galle x2)
T20I series v Pakistan (postponed) – January (Karachi)
4x Tests, 4x T20Is, 4x ODIs series v India (not confirmed) – January-March TBC (India)

Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Lewis Gregory, Liam Livingstone, Jason Roy, Tom Banton and Dawid Malan will all be part of England’s white ball series in South Africa which concludes on December 9. They’ll all need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Australia, so they’re not expected to be available until after Christmas. Malan is only part of the T20 squad which finishes up on December 1 but it’s unclear if he’ll arrive early.

Earlier this week, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chief executive Ashley de Silva said the January Tests against England were ‘set in stone’, claiming the visitors will arrive on January 3. However, it’s understood the SLC and England Cricket Board are yet to reach a formal agreement. BBL clubs have shrewdly avoided England Test players so the only player this may affect is Bairstow who was dropped from the Test team after January’s Test series in South Africa and has missed the past two Test series.

The proposed English tour of India isn’t confirmed but the latest speculation is it’ll be a two-month series after the Indians return from Australia in mid-to-late January. It’s not clear if Tests will be played first or white ball cricket. Watch this space.

New Zealand
T20I series v West Indies – Nov 27-30 (Auckland, Mt Maunganui x2)
Test series v West Indies – Dec 3-15 (Hamilton, Wellington)
T20I series v Pakistan – Dec 18-22 (Auckland, Hamilton, Napier)
Test series v Pakistan – Dec 26-Jan 7 (Mt Maunganui, Christchurch)
ODI series v Australia – Jan 26-31 (Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart)
T20I v Australia – Feb 2 (Sydney)

The Black Caps named their squads for the upcoming matches against the West Indies, which didn’t include BBL-contracted Kiwis Colin Munro and Adam Milne.

Milne hasn’t played for the national team since 2018 so he’ll be fine, while a Munro recall didn’t seem impossible, having represented the Black Caps at T20I level in February but coach Gary Stead said today: “With Colin Munro heading to the BBL and therefore unavailable for the Pakistan T20 series pre-Christmas, the selectors are keen to look at other batting options at the top of the order.”

West Indies
T20I series v NZ – Nov 27-30 (Auckland, Mt Maunganui x2)
Test series v NZ – Dec 3-15 (Hamilton, Wellington)
2x T20Is, 3x ODIs, 3x Tests series v Bangladesh (not confirmed) – January TBC (Bangladesh)

There’s a lot of interest in the Windies’ schedule given the uncertain arrival time of Stars wicketkeeper-batsman Nicholas Pooran, who is only in the T20I squad in New Zealand but expected to hang around the Test squad to gain red ball experience. It’s not clear how long that’ll be but given the Aus-NZ travel bubble, he won’t need to quarantine upon arrival which helps.

Keemo Paul has also just signed with Hobart but he’s in both the T20I and Test squads so should arrive after the Second Test concludes around December 16.

Sydney Sixers’ recruit Carlos Brathwaite isn’t in the West Indies touring party for New Zealand. He’s not played for the West Indies since August 2019 so don’t worry about his availability.

It’s been reported that the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is working feverishly on ensuring the proposed January series against the West Indies go ahead, having missed out on a few tours lately. Expect that to happen and Pooran and Paul to depart in early January.

South Africa
T20I series v England – Nov 27-Dec 1 (Cape Town x2, Paarl)
ODI series v England – Dec 4-9 (Cape Town x2, Paarl)
Test series v Sri Lanka – Dec 26-Jan 7 (Centurion, Johannesburg)
3x T20Is, 2x Tests v Pakistan (not confirmed) – January TBC (Pakistan)

South Africa’s home summer is locked in, although that largely won’t affect BBL sides who’ve not contracted Proteas players this season such as David Miller, Dale Steyn and Chris Morris. The latter two may not be selected internationally and the domestic Mzansi Super League has been postponed meaning they could become available.

Pakistan
T20I series v NZ – Dec 18-22 (Auckland, Hamilton, Napier)
Test series v NZ – Dec 26-Jan 7 (Mt Maunganui, Christchurch)
T20I series v England (postponed) – January (Karachi)
3x T20Is, 2x Tests v South Africa (not confirmed) – January TBC (Pakistan)

Similarly, there’s no Pakistani players contracted to BBL clubs this season and the Melbourne Stars have already made it clear that Haris Rauf won’t be returning, despite starring for Lahore Qalanders who play in the Pakistani Super League Final tonight.

However, Pakistani players could become available to BBL clubs if January’s proposed series against South Africa doesn’t go ahead, which is possible. South Africa haven’t toured Pakistan since 2007 and a fortnight ago sent a delegation to assess its feasibility. There’s been no confirmation on that yet.

Afghanistan
Test v Australia (postponed) – Dec 7-11 (Perth)
ODI series v Ireland – Jan 19-24 (Abu Dhabi x3)

BBL-contracted quartet Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammed Nabi and Noor Ahmed are all Afghanistan national team players but they’ll likely prioritise the BBL over January’s ODI series against Ireland despite it being part of the ICC’s Super League. That isn’t confirmed but that’s normally how things work with Afghan players. Noor’s stint with the Renegades will done by the time that series occurs anyway.

Stars signing Zahir Khan has barely played for Afghanistan and not since 2019 either, so he should definitely be unaffected.

Sri Lanka
ODI series v Bangladesh (not confirmed) – December TBC (Bangladesh)
Test series v South Africa – Dec 26-Jan 7 (Centurion, Johannesburg)
Test series v England – Jan 14-27 (Galle x2)

The inaugural Lankan Premier League, which runs in November and December, means there’s no Sri Lankan players in this year’s BBL and their national team commitments will likely exclude them altogether.

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Bangladesh
ODI series v Sri Lanka (not confirmed) – December TBC (Bangladesh)
2x T20Is, 3x ODIs, 3x Tests series v West Indies (not confirmed) – January TBC (Bangladesh)

Similar to Sri Lanka, most Bangladeshi players who’d be of interest to BBL clubs will be tied up domestically before mooted national team matches.

Nepal
Oman ODI Tri-Nation Series v Oman, USA (not confirmed) – January TBC (Oman)
Nepal ODI Tri-Nation Series v PNG, UAE (not confirmed) – February TBC (Nepal)

Relevant due to Hobart’s apparent interest in Sandeep Lamichhane, who’ll likely prioritise BBL over his national team despite these games being World Cup qualifiers.

Other T20 leagues

2020 Lankan Premier League (Sri Lanka) – Nov 26-Dec 16

The inaugural LPL had attracted plenty of big-name imports originally but a long list have withdrawn, including Dawid Malan, Colin Ingram and Carlos Brathwaite who’ve joined BBL clubs. Chris Gayle, Qais Ahmed, Samit Patel, Shahid Afridi, Kyle Abbott, Ravi Bopara, Lendl Simmons, Lasith Malinga and Andre Russell are among those signed for LPL clubs who may have had BBL interest and could still join in January if injuries or withdrawals occur.

2020 Bangabandhu T20 Cup (Bangladesh) – Nov 24-Dec 18

Effectively replaced the Bangladeshi Premier League this season, featuring domestic players only. But that means Shakib Al Hasan, the only Bangladeshi to ever play BBL, is off limits. It’ll be utilized for national team selection for Bangladesh’s matches against Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

2020 Mzansi Super League (South Africa) – Nov-Dec (postponed)

The top South African T20 competition has been postponed until November-December 2021 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. That may free up the availability of non-national team players like Steyn or Morris, given Rilee Rossouw, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir have already joined BBL clubs.

2020-21 Super Smash (New Zealand) – Dec 24-Feb 14

Most New Zealand players outside the national team will be part of this six-team round robin competition which runs through until mid-February. Colin Munro and Adam Milne are exceptions to that, having opted to play BBL instead, but it’ll be hard to get short-term replacements from NZ given this commitment.

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