A similar situation looms in the WBBL draft with Sydney Thunder looking likely to select Kapp with pick No.1 on Sunday which would force Scorchers to make a decision on whether to use their retention pick on Kapp or hold it for Devine who is also eligible to return to the club, if she is selected at pick No. 2 by Melbourne Renegades.
The draft order for the WBBL•Cricket Australia
“I think the one that everyone’s looking at is the Scorchers and if they go Kapp or Devine, that’s going to shape the rest of the draft,” McGrath told ESPNcricinfo. “Especially for the Thunder, who they end up with because I’d imagine whoever doesn’t get retained would probably go pick one or two. So it’s going to be really interesting to sit and watch that.
“I’d absolutely love both Kapp and Devine on our lists. You would jump at them. But with [Strikers having] pick eight they’re well and truly going to be gone. We’ll just wait and see what happens before us. And that determines how we play our cards.”
Kapp has previously played at Sixers prior to moving to Perth and Gardner agreed that she would likely be the No.1 choice.
“Kapp in my eyes would be the No.1 pick and I think probably everyone around the league would say that as well,” Gardner told ESPNcricinfo. “Thunder being No. 1, I’m assuming will go for her, but obviously, I don’t know. So it’d be very, very interesting, I guess as to who they retain.”
On the surface, retaining Kapp looks like the logical choice for Scorchers given the recent form of both players but their decision is complicated by the fact that Devine’s value to them goes well beyond her recent T20 performances.
Devine has strong ties to Perth and Western Australia having also represented the state in the WNCL, Australia’s domestic 50-over competition, and is a valued leader within their programs having captained Scorchers for the last three seasons.
Harmanpreet and Dottin also big retention targets
“We’re lucky that all three players have been awesome for us,” McGrath said. “If you look at who we had last year, Laura has probably been our most consistent player over the last three years. And Dottin set the finals alight in both games, so we’re pretty spoilt for choice. No matter who we pick they will fit into our squad.”
The defending champions could also have a big call to make•Cricket Australia via Getty Images
“She’s obviously a huge loss and someone that we would have retained,” Gardner said. “She’s a huge gap to try and fill. It depends on whether you’re looking at it from a bowling perspective and saying do we need the best bowler that we can get or an allrounder?
“I’ve been in on the meetings, and they’ve been pretty stressful, and quite overwhelming. Seeing all these names and seeing the likely list of where people will go or where we think they’ll go from a platinum point of view. It’s been really interesting.”
WBBL allows direct nomination to clubs
As it is the inaugural year of the WBBL draft, Cricket Australia believed that because in women’s T20 leagues they are relatively new compared to the men’s leagues, and that the salary bands are not as high, they did not want to force players into a draft if they were uncomfortable about the uncertainty of where they would end up. CA decided to give overseas WBBL players the option of applying for this direct route.
Bates took up that option and may be available to sign for Sixers after the draft. Although with only six players opting for this route, the league may well review the rule next season.
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo