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Women T20 World Cup puts question on WBBL overseas stars availability

Women T20 World Cup puts question on WBBL overseas stars availability

Harmanpreet Kaur WBBL. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

As the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) enters its tenth season, the tournament faces a potential challenge in securing top international talent. With the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh concluding just a week before the WBBL’s start, overseas players may find themselves in a time crunch, forcing difficult decisions about their participation.

The WBBL has long been a premier platform for women’s cricket, attracting some of the game’s biggest names. However, the increasingly packed global cricket calendar is putting pressure on player availability. England’s Nat Sciver-Brunt, a late addition to last season’s Perth Scorchers lineup, has already announced she won’t be returning this year. Despite these challenges, Cricket Australia remains optimistic about the tournament’s appeal. Alistair Dobson, head of the BBL, expressed confidence in the league’s ability to attract top talent.

“Clubs are working really hard in the market at the moment with players and agents. Obviously, the calendar for players in the women’s game is really busy at that time of the year, particularly this year,” Dobson told ESPNcricinfo.

“We are excited about the players who have signed and think over the next month or two we’ll get a sense from players as to how they are preparing for the World Cup and their appetite to come quickly to Australia, whether that’s at the start of our competition, or perhaps a couple of games in which is certainly possible as well,” he added.

Also Read: Marizanne Kapp signs three-year deal with Melbourne Stars

We’ve added a big game at the Gabba: Alistair Dobson

The WBBL has made strategic changes to adapt to the evolving environment. The regular season has been trimmed to 40 games, with three finals, to help manage player workloads. Additionally, the tournament has expanded its stadium series, bringing matches to iconic venues like the Gabba, MCG, and SCG. This move aims to capitalize on the crowd growth seen in competitions like the Women’s Premier League in India and The Hundred in England.

Also Read: Hobart Hurricanes in advantage after getting first pick in WBBL overseas draft

“We took a lot from that, we’ve added a big game at the Gabba; Brisbane Heat at the Gabba is iconic. We’ve brought them a week or so earlier than last year which means the games are even more likely to be live and the way we promote those games will be a big focus for us,” Dobson concluded.

To enhance the quality of play and officiating, the WBBL is introducing technological improvements. Every match will now have a third umpire for line calls, addressing concerns raised last season about the inconsistent availability of TV umpires. There are also plans to increase the number of games with the Decision Review System (DRS) in place.

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