Following the lists of retained players announced earlier this month, the competition’s eight franchises will use the March 23 draft to fill out any remaining slots in their men’s and women’s squads ahead of the tournament’s third edition this summer.
As well as Babar, the likes of Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Afridi are included in a strong Pakistan contingent, while Starc is one of five overseas players to have set the maximum men’s reserve price of £125,000, along with countrymen Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa, West Indian great Kieron Pollard and Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan.
However, with teams restricted to a maximum of three overseas players, and with only two contracts up for grabs per salary band, opportunities for the leading international stars are set to be relatively scarce.
Oval Invincibles, for instance, do not have a pick until the fourth round of the men’s draft and so will be out of the running for any players with reserve prices above £60,000, while both defending champions Trent Rockets and Birmingham Phoenix have already used their three overseas slots.
As a result, player availability is expected to be placed at a premium and international commitments for Australia and South Africa during the men’s tournament mean players from those countries may struggle to get deals. New Zealand’s clear window means the likes of Trent Boult and Glenn Phillips are expected to be in-demand, particularly as the Black Caps are due in England for in a three-match ODI series immediately after the tournament.
There is no direct overlap with the home international summer, so England seamers David Willey, Olly Stone and Reece Topley will all expect to earn sizeable deals, as will Test opener Ben Duckett, who is on the market having left last year’s bottom side Welsh Fire.
The women’s competition is holding its first draft, with Dane van Niekerk, who captained Oval Invincibles to back-to-back titles in the first two editions, and India’s Jemimah Rodrigues – second in last year’s run charts – among the other headline entries.
As in the men’s draft, England players not already under contract are likely to prove popular, with Danni Wyatt, Sarah Glenn, Sophia Dunkley and Kate Cross all in that category.