Cricket Australia has bowed to demands of players and fans and gone early on reducing the Big Bash season by 17 matches for this summer’s tournament.
Instead of the 61 games played in recent seasons, there will be only 44 matches, with 40 home-and-away games plus four finals, with a start date yet to be confirmed.
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The finals structure also remains up in the air but will be reduced by one game after five finals were played last season when the Perth Scorchers went on to seal the title.
Big Bash officials made the change to the number of games one year earlier than required, with the reduction a key feature of the seven-year broadcast deal that begins in 2024/25.
The WBBL will, however, remain the same length, with 59 games in the season.
“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,” BBL boss Alastair Dobson said.
“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 al 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.”
A week-long player retention window will begin for the first time on Monday, 15 May, allowing clubs the chance to re-sign up to 12 BBL and 10 WBBL players from their previous season’s primary lists, excluding overseas and local replacement players.
After that the trade period will begin.
In another change, clubs will be able to trade picks in any of the four rounds of the second overseas player draft, with a WBBL draft being held for the first time.