David Warner set to sign contract with BBL side Sydney Thunder: Report

by IANS |

Melbourne, Aug 6 (IANS) Big Bash League (BBL) is set to get a major boost with reports suggesting that Australia's batting stalwart David Warner is on course to signing a deal with Sydney Thunder this weekend.

A report in The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday morning said Warner, 35, will be handed a lucrative contract by Cricket Australia (CA), similar to the one which was offered to stars such as Australian legends, the late Shane Warne, Mike Hussey and Shane Watson and former England batter Kevin Pietersen, in the initial years of BBL.

Quoting sources, the report said the package could be worth a minimum of AUD340,000, "the same offered to the best overseas players in the Big Bash draft", scheduled later this month. A part of Warner's salary will be paid by the BBL side "and go into their salary cap", while the majority will be covered by CA.

Warner will replace former Sydney Thunder skipper Usman Khawaja, who has moved to Brisbane Heat for family reasons. The report added that with the One-day International series against South Africa in January now cancelled, Warner could earn a minimum of AUD70,000 per match for the five games he plays for Thunder.

A major bone of contention for the home players is the big money being offered to overseas players in the BBL player draft compared to them, and Warner's deal, which is comparable with the money being offered in the draft to leading overseas players, "will be the major driver for a significant increase in the Big Bash salary cap of AUD1.9 million per club when the next memorandum of understanding between the players and CA is negotiated at the end of the season", the report said.

Sources said that overseas players this season could earn more than twice of what the homebred current BBL stalwarts earn.

"The BBL salary cap and the calibration between BBL and broader cricket is something that we'll be reviewing," said CA chief executive Nick Hockley. "It's timely that we review this as part of the next MoU and those discussions are currently underway."

An earlier report in SMH had said that more than 15 Australian contracted players, including Warner, were being offered AUD700,000 to play in the new UAE T20 League in January 2023, whose dates clash with the BBL.

Contracted players are not allowed to play in overseas tournaments during the BBL without permission, the report added.

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