Downsizing of BBL could allow others to follow Stoinis to UAE

First steps are underway for Cricket Australia to shrink the Big Bash League from 61 to 43 games as early as next season, a year before the new broadcast deal with Foxtel and Seven comes into effect.

Such a result, meaning the tournament concludes around the long weekend of January 26th, would open the door for numerous other Australian players to follow Chris Lynn and Marcus Stoinis and play in the UAE Twenty20 League thereafter.

Marcus Stoinis joins the UAE league after the Melbourne Stars' last game.

Marcus Stoinis joins the UAE league after the Melbourne Stars’ last game. Credit:Getty Images

All parties involved in the seven-year, $1.5 billion rights deal have been cleared Age and The Sydney Morning Heraldare open to the concept of cutting the BBL as early as next season, although the move would require some new negotiations.

Given the historical friction between Seven and CA over the scheduling of the BBL in previous COVID-19 seasons, an agreement to deviate from the wording of the existing broadcast deal would represent a step forward in dealing in good faith.

The other potential hiccup for an early move to 43 games would be existing trade deals between BBL clubs and their corporate partners based on seven home games per team rather than four or five.

Stoinis, who signed for the ILT20 League with the Sharjah Warriors this week, came to terms with the franchise on the basis that the Melbourne Stars are unlikely to be in contention for the BBL Finals as their last game was played on January 25 will.

ILT20 runs from January 15th to February 13th, with CA and other international bodies keen to ensure it doesn’t take up too much space in an already extremely busy global calendar.

“Personally for me it’s a tremendous opportunity to gain some important playing time in a tournament like this one in the United Arab Emirates ahead of a busy year that will be packed with cricket,” Stoinis said of his move.

“These are extremely exciting times for international franchise cricket and I am delighted to be part of a team like Sharjah Warriors in the history-making inaugural edition of the league.” Downsizing of BBL could allow others to follow Stoinis to UAE

Ryan Sederquist

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