Australia BBL News – Starc continues to skip BBL despite being available

Mitchell Starc has become the first Australian star to confirm he will not play in the Big Bash League this summer amid looming negotiations over the availability of future players.

This summer is crucial for competition in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, with Cricket Australia keen to have as many top-line talent playing as often as possible.

Australia’s multi-format stars are expected to be available for a sizeable chunk of it, with the one-day series set to be canceled against South Africa in January.

But that won’t change Starc’s position, who can’t imagine in the near future.

Quick, 32, last played for the Sydney Sixers in 2014-15 and has since waived nearly $10 million in potential salary.

“I’ve always enjoyed the BBL when I’ve played it… but my approach to all of franchise cricket hasn’t changed in the last seven years,” Starc told AAP in Galle.

“My approach to the IPL, BBL, I’ve been looking at the Australian schedule and want to be as fit and capable as possible for that.

“And franchise cricket has taken a back seat.”

Starc’s position is in the midst of an overloaded international schedule.

Following the current tour in Sri Lanka, Australia has white ball series against Zimbabwe, New Zealand, India, England and the West Indies, as well as a home T20 World Cup.

Tests against the West Indies and South Africa follow ahead of the BBL window, with a tour of India, an away game at Ashes and a 50-over World Cup all highlighting next year’s calendar.

“The timeline for the next 18 months is ridiculous,” Starc said.

“I will always keep an eye on Australian cricket and then franchise cricket (runners-up).

“I also enjoy spending time at home and seeing my wife (Alyssa Healy, who is also a frequent traveler).”

However, the reluctance of Starc and others could be questioned in the years to come.

There will be a push in the next pay negotiations for players being signed to a club and participating unless they are injured or have Australian duties.

The current memoriam of understanding expires in mid-2023, meaning such a mechanism could be in place for the following summer if agreed.

It comes amid criticism over the quality of the competition, with CA preparing to defend the league in federal court while the Seven Network seeks to back out of its broadcasting deal.

As things stand, Usman Khawaja (Brisbane Heat), Mitchell Swepson (Brisbane Heat), Nathan Lyon (Sixers) and Alex Carey (Adelaide Strikers) are all signed for this summer.

Marnus Labuschagne is likely to re-sign for Brisbane and Travis Head has long played for Adelaide.

Steven Smith is also likely to play, happy that clubs can add Australian players to the squad after last summer’s lockdown.

Josh Hazlewood only played for the Sixers in 2019-20, while Cameron Green was out last year and Pat Cummins and David Warner were long sitouts.

CA is confident the Overseas Player Draft will add traction to the competition and last week lured their first big fish in Faf du Plessis.

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