BBL ‘unfortunate’ to lose stars to ODI series: Finch

Australian batsman Aaron Finch says it is “unfortunate” the Big Bash League loses several of its stars through Australia’s one-day international campaign but doesn’t expect the scheduling clash to change.

Finch, Marcus Stoinis, Jhye Richardson and Adam Zampa are among those who have played in the first half of the BBL season and may not return because of ODI and Twenty20 international commitments.

The pointy end of the BBL coincides with the five-match one-day series against England, beginning at the MCG on Sunday and concluding in Perth on January 28. The Australian T20 side then takes centre stage, with the opening match of a tri-series, also featuring New Zealand, beginning in Sydney on February 3.

Finch is almost certain to also be a part of the T20 side, meaning he most likely will miss the BBL semi-finals on February 1 and 2 and the final on February 4 – should his Melbourne Renegades make it.

The hard-hitting opener is the only Renegade in the Australian ODI squad but as captain and their best batsman, his absence will hurt the Gades who sit third on the ladder.

It also weakens a BBL competition already without Test stars Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins.

Finch, who is on the seven-member Australian Cricketers Association executive, said on Wednesday the issue remained a point of contention.

“It’s been a talking point for a few years now. I am sure that everyone in the country would love to see Starc and Cummins and Smith and Warner being available for the Big Bash full-time and guys that go out for the one-day series as well,” Finch said.

“Does it weaken it [BBL]? I think it gives other players an opportunity which will test the depth of squads and probably really puts list management to the test in the Big Bash, making sure that teams do have a couple of guys to cover a few spots in case someone gets selected.

“I think it would be great to see everyone available to play but scheduling is a pretty hard thing to do. You do have to fit cricket in somewhere – it is unfortunate it does have to happen like that. You can make the same arguments for shield cricket and one-day cricket, making players available the whole time but it’s not possible.”

The BBL is seen as the growth tool of Australian cricket, with the value of its broadcast rights expected to triple from $20 million annually when a new deal is confirmed this year.

However, it is not given an exclusive window allowing the best Australian players to take part, and is then diminished when key figures leave for international duty.

Host broadcaster Channel Ten, having done so much to build up the BBL and Women’s Big Bash League, has the imprimatur from new American owner CBS to push to retain the rights, while Seven, Nine and Fox Sports have also crunched the numbers.

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