BBL to discuss Aussie player availability

22 January 2016

Hastings and Maxwell are on Australian duties // Getty Images

Club versus country debate to be raised post season

KFC Big Bash League boss Anthony Everard says discussions will be held following this season about providing flexibility for players on national duty to be made available for their BBL clubs.

BBL|05 has been the most successful Big Bash League season yet and the growth has once again been achieved largely without the nation's best talent, who are focused on international commitments for most of the summer.

Everard said he would love the likes of Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and Usman Khawaja to play more BBL cricket in 2016-17, but added the success of the competition so far proved that it was not an essential ingredient.

"We've spoken about it for a few years. In an ideal world yes but equally the absence of those Australian players has provided opportunity," Everard told AAP.

"The results we've achieved this year, without having access to all the Australian players all the time, would indicate it's not mandatory (for future growth)."

WATCH: Khawaja's classy ton

However, Everard confirmed the issue would again be raised in post-tournament meetings.

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One example of the club versus country debate this season was Khawaja's absence from last weekend's Sydney Smash at the SCG when the Thunder batsman was on duty with Australia's ODI squad.

The left-hander wasn't included in Australia's XI for the matches in Brisbane and Melbourne but remained with the squad, leading to calls from Thunder captain Mike Hussey for Cricket Australia to be more flexible in regards to making players available for their BBL franchises.

"We have spoken to a number of clubs over the last week - the Thunder in relation to Usman Khawaja and a couple of others," Everard said.

"We have made a note that once the season finishes, we'll sit down with the Australian team high-performance guys.

"Reflect on what worked and what didn't work and if there's a better way of doing it then we'll keep an open mind."

Englishman Kevin Pietersen said it would be "amazing" to face the likes of Starc and Smith in the BBL, but feels it could only happen if Cricket Australia cleared a block in the busy international schedule.

"They need a chunk of time. It'd be very, very difficult for them to just come in and out," the Melbourne Stars batsman said.

"I've been in their shoes and ... it can be extremely hard as international players to jump from team to team."

Quick single: No mercy, says Hastings

Australia fast bowler John Hastings, who will be one of six ODI squad members to miss Friday night's BBL semi-final between the Stars and the Perth Scorchers in Melbourne, said it would be difficult to create a window in the already packed international schedule.

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He said despite the success of the BBL, representing Australia should always be a player's top priority.

"I hope it doesn't get to that (a player chosing his BBL club over Australia) because for me the pinnacle is representing your country," Hastings said in Sydney today.

"The Big Bash has been fantastic and is going from strength to strength, which is excellent for cricket in this country.

"But if we get to that stage we're going in the wrong direction.

"Obviously I'd love to be playing for the Melbourne Stars but I think any chance you get to represent your country is the pinnacle."

The fifth BBL season, which has broken a host of crowd and TV ratings records, concludes with Sunday's final.

Despite calls for the competition to expand, Everard said there was unlikely to be any major changes for BBL|06.

But he said minor tweaks, such as potential fixtures on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, are likely to be looked at.

"We'll probably stick to the winning formula," he said.

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Adelaide Strikers Men

Australia Men

Brisbane Heat Men

Hobart Hurricanes Men

Melbourne Renegades Men

Melbourne Stars Men

Perth Scorchers Men

Sydney Sixers Men

Sydney Thunder Men