For the last phase of BBL 2021/22, the BBL authorities have introduced a list of substitute players to fill the gaps of the teams infected by Covid-19. Each player will be bound to the BBL protocol, and an assignment of a ‘home’ club will be made for them during part of the central pool section. However, they will sign a contract with any club as a substitute. Earlier, WBBL used such a model in the Sydney-based hub in 2020/21.
There are currently eight players on the list aspiring to join: Brayden Stepien (Melbourne Renegades), Nicholas Bertus (Sydney Sixers), Iain Carlisle (Hobart Hurricanes), Jake Carder (Perth Scorchers), Lachlan Hearne (Sydney Thunder), Daniel Drew (Adelaide Strikers), Lachlan Pfeffer (Brisbane Heat – the Heat currently have an 18-player squad), and Jake Doran (Melbourne Stars).
All eight clubs in the tournament became infected after the Adelaide Strikers player Matt Renshaw tested positive in the RT-PCR test before isolation. As a result, the Melbourne Stars and the Brisbane Heat have been forced to take to the field with almost entirely new-looking teams in recent matches. The Scorchers’ player Colin Munro tested positive in the Covid-19 Test on Sunday.
The backup pool refers to a player who will have the opportunity to play for more than one club in the same season, as Justin Avendano did. Before getting called up to his previous team, the Sydney Sixers, and playing against Perth Scorchers, the Stars picked him up, and he played two matches for them.
Substitutes already signed with clubs will be able to stay with those teams. However, when the main squad players can return, they will join the new pool of the reserve, which the technical committee will approve of the tournament.
The tournament has been shifted to be held in a hub in Melbourne to stay away from Covid-19 effects as much as possible, which will assist in rejig schedules if necessary. However, some teams will still play matches in their respective states under a fly-in, fly-out model. Decisions about the final series are expected to be clear this week.