Why Lynn needs CA clearance to play in UAE T20 league

Cricket Australia could block Chris Lynn’s plans to play in this summer’s UAE T20 league in a bid to protect the integrity of the Big Bash League.

Lynn, who is currently without a BBL deal for the upcoming season after parting ways with Brisbane Heat, is yet to apply for clearance to feature in the UAE’s International League T20 (ILT20) despite being named on Monday as one of 21 marquee players for the inaugural tournament.

His involvement in the ILT20, which is set to clash with KFC BBL|12 when it gets underway in early January, hinges on Cricket Australia granting a ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC), as per International Cricket Council regulations, where a player’s participation in a foreign domestic competition must be cleared by their home board.

CA said in a statement on Tuesday morning that it had yet to receive any applications for an NOC from players for the upcoming season.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between players and CA – which is up for renewal next year – also sets out that NOCs are only provided for outside the Australian season.

The ICC updated its regulations regarding player release and the granting of NOCs earlier this year amid the proliferation of domestic T20 tournaments.

The regulations make it clear that Lynn, who currently does not hold a contract with any BBL club or Australian state, still requires clearance from CA to play overseas.

The provisions dictate that every player seeking to play abroad in a domestic competition must hold an NOC, “whether they are contracted to the relevant member or not, or whether they have retired from cricket or not”.

CA has made it clear it would be unlikely to look favorably on an application for an NOC from Lynn, and the ICC regulations appear to endorse that stance.

The ICC regulations state members, such as CA, “shall act in accordance with their obligations as custodians of the sport” when assessing whether to grant an NOC.

CA said its “guiding principle” when considering whether to issue an NOC “remains the prioritization and protection of Australia’s domestic summer of cricket and the interests of the game overall”.

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“As such, NOCs are generally only issued for the period after the Australian season has finished,” CA said in a statement.

The Australian Cricketers’ Association, Lynn’s management and the UAE league are aware of CA’s position regarding the involvement of Australian players in the tournament.

There have been past exceptions where Australians have played abroad during the summer.

Ben Dunk, a close friend of Lynn’s, terminated his contract with the Melbourne Stars by mutual consent in January 2021, with another 18 months left to run on the deal. A fortnight later he was playing in the Abu Dhabi T10 League.

James Faulkner, who rejected a Hobart Hurricanes’ offer of a one-year deal for the 2021-22 season amid a falling out with the club, was playing Pakistan Super League matches in Karachi in January while the BBL|11 season was concluding.

And Steve Smith and David Warner both played matches at the Bangladesh Premier League in January 2019 while serving bans from Australian cricket in the wake of the Cape Town scandal.

In an accompanying explanatory note, the ICC regulations set out a ‘non-exhaustive’ list of factors for members to consider when determining whether to grant NOCs. They include giving consideration to whether a player has announced their retirement from international cricket in the previous two years.

Lynn’s last international appearance was almost four years ago, but he has never announced a retirement from international selection.

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He’s previously said he would “love to play the T20 World Cup on Australian soil” but hasn’t been selected since November 2018 and has been unable to force his way back into the plans of the panel now headed by George Bailey.

Warner had also been linked to the UAE league but was not named as a marquee player on Monday and CA chief executive Nick Hockley has been in positive discussions with the Aussie opener about a deal to revive his Big Bash career after a nine-year absence.

Warner’s manager, James Erskine, last week ruled out his star client featuring in the UAE league this season.

Australian Cricketers’ Association CEO Todd Greenberg said he was hopeful Warner and all the nation’s best cricketers would play in the BBL this summer.

“There’s absolutely no doubt that someone like David and others of his ilk could earn more in the coming Australian summer if they were to ply their trade overseas,” Greenberg told The Australian.

“But there’s a much broader discussion and a bigger picture we are trying to solve here and that’s the discussion I am having with several of our players this week.

“David and others understand … that if they play in (the BBL) it increases the opportunity for the next broadcast deal to be secured at a higher number which maybe doesn’t benefit them specifically, but it benefits the next generation of Australian cricketers coming through.

“This is a real test of our players demonstrating the level of partnership.”

Warner was awarded player-of-the-tournament in last year’s T20 World Cup // Getty

Emirates Cricket’s General Secretary, Mubashshir Usmani, confirmed on Monday each franchise will select up to 12 foreign players in their 18-player squad, along with four from the UAE and two others from ICC Associate nations.

By comparison, BBL clubs can contract up to seven overseas players each season but only three can be selected in the XI at any one time, while Indian Premier League teams are allowed four foreign players in their XI.

CA has joined a number of other boards in raising concerns around the process of the new UAE league being ratified by the ICC.

The league plans to allow its six franchises to select nine foreign players in their XI for each match, with officials from England, South Africa, West Indies and Pakistan as well as CA suggested was contrary to the ICC’s charter.

The ICC chief executive, Geoff Allardice, has said the league’s plans “comply” with the ICC’s rules on sanctioning events and there was no “hard cap” on how many foreign players a domestic league could field.

“We assessed it under the regulations. We sent it to our departments for feedback. They were satisfied that the application complied with the regulations. And we sanctioned it,” Allardice told ESPN.

Top players in the UAE league are set to pocket up to A$650,000 for the tournament, which is significantly more than Lynn could earn as a domestic player in the Big Bash due to club salary caps of around $1.9m.

The UAE league did not announce salary tiers for the named marquee players, with its franchises to negotiate directly with those players before a draft to fill out the rosters.

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