Draft Lottery results, picks, weighted lottery, Melbourne Stars No. 1 pick, Sydney Thunder reaction, cricket news, video

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The Melbourne Stars have defied the odds to secure the No. 1 pick for the Big Bash League Draft for a second consecutive year.

Despite having a 20 per cent chance of getting the coveted first pick, the Stars, who finished sixth in last summer’s BBL, were the first name called during this week’s weighted lottery, which decides the order for the overseas player draft.

Cross-town rivals the Melbourne Renegades clinched the No. 2 pick while the Sydney Thunder, who had a 40 per cent chance of earning the first pick after finishing eighth last season, drew the short straw with pick No. 3.

“Absolutely shafted, if I’m being honest,” Sydney Thunder general manager Trent Copeland laughed while speaking to reporters on Thursday.

“We had the highest odds for the No. 1 overall pick. We sat in the room for the draft lottery.

“Heartache … I was excited at the prospect of landing No. 1.

“To be honest, in the landscape we live in with the BBL Draft, No. 3 doesn’t change our plans. We’ve got a targeted skillset we’re after, a really clear and obvious standout group at the top of our priority list, and I’m confident we’ll get one of those.”

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The Thunder will have the option of retaining English opener Alex Hales, the club’s leading run-scorer in the BBL, during the first round of next season’s Draft, which is expected to be held in September.

Meanwhile, the Sydney-based franchise has announced the signing of wicketkeeper Sam Billings on a three-year deal, poaching the Englishman from the Brisbane Heat.

The 32-year-old, who has represented England in all three formats, donned lime green for 20 matches between 2020 and 2022, but spent the previous two seasons in Brisbane.

“I must thank the Brisbane Heat for two great years up in Queensland,” Billings said in a statement.

“I loved my time up there at a wonderful club. Met some brilliant people and managed to contribute to winning a BBL.

“Hopefully I can do the same and help build a winning culture at Sydney Thunder moving forward.”

Copeland is also confident the Thunder can lure Australian superstar David Warner, who will from international cricket later this month, back to the club for another season.

“(Warner’s) a champion of the club, a long-standing member and hasn’t really had the opportunities in his career to just leave and breath that for a full summer,” Copeland continued.

“I’m really keen to make that happen. Davey is a good friend of mine, but I’m not taking for granted that there are many assets around the world in terms of franchise club cricket that are wanting his services.

“Let’s make sure we make that happen and he can be a Thunder man for life, I think it would be an exciting story to finish off what has been an amazing career for him.”

David Warner of the Thunder. Photo by Matt King/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

The Stars will be wary that the previous two No. 1 picks from the BBL Draft did not participate in the tournament – England’s Liam Livingstone withdrew from the 2022/23 competition due to international commitments, while Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan missed last year’s Big Bash because of surgery.

English young gun Harry Brook, the Stars’ subsequent selection last year after the Adelaide Strikers retained Khan, also withdrew from the Big Bash due to international commitments.

Meanwhile, the Hobart Hurricanes have received the No. 1 pick in the Women’s Big Bash League Draft, with the Sydney Sixers and Renegades earning second and third respectively.

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