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Big Bash League 2015/16: Sydney Sixers propose idea to strengthen club rosters

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Sydney Sixers general manager Dominic Remond is hoping a deal can be thrashed out with Cricket Australia to allow each Big Bash League franchise to "pair" Australia's internationals with a like-for-like player to give the nation's Test and one-day stars a presence in the booming competition.

If successful, the deal would also allow club rosters to remain strong when national duties preclude the big names from playing. 

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The Sixers have Australian skipper Steve Smith and bowlers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood on their books but none of them has struck a blow for their team this summer – a season in which BBL04's runners-up entered Saturday's derby against the Thunder in last place. 

Remond conceded it was getting harder for the franchise to retain players – even those ranked among the world's best – if they can't play a game due to their international commitments.   

"It's certainly becoming harder," he said. "The Sixers philosophy has always been to make the semis [of the BBL] to get into the Champions League and have all of our top-class players available for that.

"With the Champions League now defunct there's a lot less potential reward in us having these name Australian players on our books because we might not see them for the whole tournament."


However, Remond said the Sixers don't want to abandon the trio, saying Smith, Hazlewood and Starc are "a part of the fabric of our club and we definitely want them involved".

He told Fairfax Media the Sydney Sixers have tabled a possible solution to Cricket Australia that would allow franchises to sign Australia's best players but also ensure they were replaced with a quality player when they were required for national duty.

"We might not see [Smith, Starc or Hazlewood] for the whole tournament but I think it's important to have them associated with our clubs," said Remond.

"I've made some suggestions to Cricket Australia about how we can potentially keep them involved in the clubs but also have a bit more flexibility in how we replace them within our roster if they're not available.

"We're allowed to replace these guys [under the current structure] but we can't do that until the contracting period is over. It means you're looking at [signing] the 129th, 130th, 131st player that's available after the 18-man squads have been finalised.

"It means we're not able to go after the better state players until the process is finished. I think there's a way, interestingly, how we contract international or overseas players ... [and that is] you're allowed to have a replacement international player so you can pair them.

"If you have an international player who plays four games for the club but then has to leave to represent their country [this plan would allow] you to have a player who is paired with them for the remaining four games.

"I think a system like that might work very well. If we knew there was 18 [Cricket Australia] contracted players and you could pair them up with another player and still have that within your salary cap, that might be an option to look at when the next MOU gets put together.

Sydney Thunder chief executive Nick Cummins told Fairfax Media last week that under the current structure there was no value in trying to lure a player of David Warner's calibre to the franchise to replace retirement-bound Michael Hussey because it's unlikely he'd play in the BBL due to his extensive Australia commitments.

"Whether it's Dave Warner, Steve Smith or Mitchell Starc, I don't think there's a lot of value in trying to sign players who play at least two forms of the game for Australia," Cummins said.

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