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Australia's Big Bash League to be reduced to 40 league games from 2023/24 season

Melbourne, May 12 (IANS) Cricket Australia on Friday confirmed the 2023/24 season of the Big Bash League (BBL) will feature a reduced 44-match schedule with the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) games to remain at 59.

Amidst criticism over the BBL schedule being too long, the reduction of BBL matches (40 regular season matches plus 4 finals) is a key feature in Cricket Australia’s extended seven-year broadcast deal with the Foxtel Group and Seven West Media. A new four-match finals series will feature the top four Clubs, with the finals structure to be confirmed.

“A shortened BBL will allow us greater flexibility to ensure we can deliver the best possible fixture for clubs and fans while providing a platform that allows players to continue to produce the world-class levels of cricket we’ve seen over the duration of the tournament,” said Alistair Dobson, General Manager, Big Bash Leagues, in a statement.

No changes have been made to the WBBL schedule, with the world’s best players set to compete across 59 matches (56 regular season matches plus 3 finals) in the ninth season of the tournament. Full fixtures, including start and end dates for both the BBL and WBBL, will be confirmed in due course.

“Whilst no changes have been made to the WBBL schedule, it’s vital that we make sure the tournament continues to be at the forefront of T20 Leagues as the global women’s game continues to evolve at a rapid rate.”

“As a League, we’re always reviewing and looking at ways we can evolve, adapt and innovate, and as part of that, we’ll continue to consider the structure of the WBBL season,” added Dobson.

From May 15, a week-long retention window will commence for the first time. Clubs will be able to re-sign up to 12 BBL and 10 WBBL players from their previous season’s primary lists, excluding overseas and local replacement players.

The BBL and WBBL Contracting Embargo Periods will lift on May 22, with the Trade Period also commencing. In another first, Clubs will be able to trade Draft picks in any of the four rounds of the Overseas Player Drafts. Each club will be required to have at least one selection in each round of the Drafts.

“We’re looking forward to seeing what impact the introduction of retention windows and the ability for clubs to trade draft picks has, in conjunction with the existing Trade Period. Clubs’ draft picks will again be confirmed via lottery ahead of the draft, no doubt creating plenty of excitement as Clubs finalise their lists ahead of the season,” concluded Dobson.

–IANS

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