Hobart Hurricanes get first pick in WBBL overseas draft

Lizelle Lee hit a century in the WBBL Getty Images

Hobart Hurricanes will have pick one in the WBBL draft later this year after coming out first during the weighted lottery that was not in their favour.

The first four picks involved those sides who did not make finals in the 2023-24 season - Hurricanes, Sydney Sixers, Melbourne Renegades and Melbourne Stars - followed by the four sides that reached the playoffs. The Melbourne teams finished in the bottom two places last season so had a greater chance of earning the first pick, but will have to wait behind Hurricanes and Sixers.

Hurricanes finished sixth last season having taken Shabnim Ismail and Bryony Smith in the draft alongside Lizelle Lee as a direct nomination.

Perth Scorchers, who were knocked out in the Challenger, will have the last pick in rounds one, two and four of the draft - in round three, the order is reversed. Picks can be traded between clubs so the order could change. The draft is expected to take place in September.

Last season's first pick went to Sydney Thunder who took South Africa allrounder Marizanne Kapp as a platinum player with Scorchers opting not to use their retention option.

This year clubs can sign up to four overseas players which would include anyone who joins under the new multi-year pre-draft option. New Zealand's Amelia Kerr was the first player confirmed under that part of the system after being lured away from Brisbane Heat and signing a deal with Sixers.

The pre-draft route in the WBBL essentially replaces the direct nominations option that was in place last year and which most clubs made use of. If clubs opt to sign a fourth player, they would become the first overseas replacement.

The draft will again include four price bands: platinum (AU$110,000), gold (AU$90,000), silver (AU$65,000) and bronze (AU$40,000).

Next season's WBBL has been reduced to a 40-game regular season in a bid to manage the workload of the game's leading players and boost attendances. The tournament is expected to start shortly after the conclusion of the Women's T20 World Cup in Bangladesh, which will finish on October 20.

Given the proximity of the World Cup to the WBBL season, it remains to be seen how many of the world's leading players commit to the tournament in Australia.