Heather Knight, Sophie Ecclestone among England stars to headline WBBL draft

The inaugural WBBL draft process will take place on September 3.

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Heather Knight and Sophie Ecclestone
Heather Knight and Sophie Ecclestone. (Photo Source: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Heather Knight and Sophie Ecclestone among other England stars have thrown their hats in the ring for the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) draft. Notably, Cricket Australia (CA) decided to introduce a draft process for overseas players, marking a significant contracting shake-up in the women’s circuit, which is scheduled to take place on September 3. 

Ahead of the inaugural draft process in the WBBL, England captain Knight is eligible for retention by Sydney Thunder. Notably, the English skipper was to join the franchise last season, however, was ruled out due to an injury that kept her confined to the sidelines.

Likewise, the No.1 ranked bowler in ODIs and T20Is, Ecclestone too will be eligible for retention for the upcoming season. Claiming 20 wickets at an average economy of 6.29, Ecclestone played a key role in Sydney Sixers’ run to the final in the 2022/23 season.

Top-order batter Tammy Beaumont, who became the first woman to smash a century (118 off 61 balls) in The Hundred 2023 women’s competition, will also enter the draft and will likely be retained by the Sydney Thunder for the forthcoming season.

That said, Sydney Thunder will have a daunting task to pick between Knight and Beaumont as each franchise gets to retain just one player. While Beaumont is in red-hot form with the bat, the England skipper relished a magnificent campaign in the triumphant 2020/21 season as she accumulated 446 runs in 15 innings, emerging as the fourth-highest run-getter in the season.

Three categories for the WBBL draft process

Emma Lamb, Lauren Bell, and Issy Wong too are some of the other English players who have been nominated in the WBBL draft. Speaking about the draft process, the overseas players in the draft process can nominate in three categories namely- gold (AUD$90,000), silver (AUD$65,000), and bronze (AUD$40,000).

In addition to this, the BBL management will then select a group of the biggest names to the platinum picks on AUD$110,000. The players will be eligible for the retention pick if they have been in a Big Bash squad for a minimum of two seasons and haven't been contracted to another team. Furthermore, they will need to be part of the squad from the previous edition but did not play in the starting 13 and have been approved by the Big Bash Technical Committee.

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