The Future of Cricket is here – Australian Premier League launches with Brisbane Premier League

The Australian Premier League (APL) is set to change the cricketing landscape in Australia forever with a new privately owned league for juniors through to seniors backed by high profile owners and a fresh approach to the game.

The APL is backed by former Australian & Queensland legend Ian Healy AO, former England A captain, author, presenter and commentator Mark Nicholas, healthcare entrepreneurs and co-founders of Icon Cancer Group, Epic Pharmacy Group and the Epic Good Foundation Stuart Giles and Cathie Reid AM, co-founders of the Australian Cricket Institute (ACI) Joel Hamilton and Nick Fitzpatrick, CEO of the National Premier League (NPL) in South Africa Ziyaad Desai and Francois Bruyns.

The APL is an evolution of the 11-year success of the NPL competition which has resulted in three successful leagues, 25 franchises and over 2,000 players participating. High profile franchise owners in Cape Town include former South African cricketers Gary Kirsten, JP Duminy, Vernon Philander, Ashwell Prince and Paul Adams. The NPL also attracts national and first class players bringing unrivalled excitement and competitiveness to thousands of cricketers annually.

The competition will create an additional pathway and opportunity for male and female players to showcase their talent and create an environment for those who dare to dream of reaching the cricketing heights they see achieved by their heroes. Players who may have previously missed out on a pathway, or indeed those late bloomers, can use this tournament as their platform to compete at a level that replicates the professional T20 leagues around the world. Games will also be live streamed ensuring amateur cricket commands the attention it deserves and reaches the widest possible audience.

The purpose of this quality competition is to allow future generations to shape the cricketing landscape through their own experiences and enjoyment. This means premier and community clubs will benefit from the APL through their players’ involvement in the tournament and give them the opportunity to play in something that does not interfere with the club cricket season. There will also be revenue raising opportunities to provide much needed support back to the club by leveraging the use of their grounds for APL games. By putting resources back into club cricket, the APL is a tournament that will support and boost club cricket and its players.

The Brisbane Premier League (BPL) will be the first tournament to launch in what will be a game-changing development of amateur cricket. By revitalising and strengthening this tier of cricket, players will be able to experience what it’s like to play at a professional level. Eight privately owned franchises will make up the BPL for the inaugural 2021 season with players chosen at an auction night, each with a fantasy salary cap.

Community is at the core of these franchises along with learning and development. All franchise owners will pick a team and create the culture their own way, pick and develop players how they want to and play the style of cricket they want to play. The eight franchises in the BPL are the Northern Kings, Gold Coast Waveriders, Moreton Magic, Western Power, Bayside Pirates, Coastal Marlins, Southern Storm and the Darling Dingoes.

The auction night is an event that allows team owners to create a senior team that represents their community proudly. Any of Queensland’s cricketers aged 18 or over can put their hat into the ring regardless of previous performance, the area in which they live in or the club at which they play at. It is also an opportunity for country and older players who can’t commit to premier cricket to challenge themselves at the highest level in the strongest league. The evening is a pressure-ridden, heart-pumping, drama-driven auction of the state’s best club cricketers.

The junior competition comprises U12, 13, 15, 17 & 19 age groups and additional girls age groups allowing team owners to choose their teams via a draft system similar to that of the AFL. This process will ensure an even balance of talent, promise and a more level playing field with tighter matches giving all young players a chance to take control of the game. The result is a fun, family-friendly event that will also be live streamed so those who can’t attend can see if their kids and mates are chosen, by who, and where.

All players selected for a team in the BPL will be able to emulate their heroes by playing with coloured clothing and white balls to a ground filled with enthusiastic and vested supporters. This will be a chance for them to make their mark in previously uncharted waters and to play with others they might usually compete against or have never crossed paths with before.

Player nominations will be open from December 2020 with the seniors tournament taking place in August 2021 and the junior tournament happening throughout the September 2021 school holidays.

Australian history is steeped in the game of cricket. The APL is both aspirational and rewarding at the same time providing legitimate resources to a traditional volunteer organised sport and injecting much needed capital and support into the game at the levels below professional cricket. This tournament shows the power of cricket in its purest form.

Quote attributable to Ian Healy AO
“Many cricketers of all ages want to play more each season! The Australian Premier League has created just that, for those who nominate and are drafted. New clubs, privately owned, hosting U12’s right through to Opens, accompanying existing cricketing structures, will definitely excite plenty. Brisbane is delighted to be the first market of interest in Australia, providing players some great opportunities.”

Quote attributable to Mark Nicholas
“Children thrive from inspiration and it comes to them in many ways. Australian cricket has a long and storied history but, to today’s generation, it is the heroes of the moment and the version of the game that best suits the lives they live which matters most. T20 cricket has modernised cricket’s appeal and the IPL has given it a previously unimagined profile and engagement. It’s as big as one day cricket was when Kerry Packer brought us ‘lights, cameras and action’ all those years ago. The difference now, the added buzz if you like, comes from ‘lights, cameras, AUCTION’ and the chance for kids to touch and feel the journey taken to the top by their heroes.”

Quote attributable to Stuart Giles
“Cricket and sport generally is an incredible enabler in our communities. Cathie and I are very excited to be involved in launching the Australian Premier League as we believe it is a game changer for cricket in Australia. We are looking forward to bringing whatever expertise and experience we can to the table to help the APL become an integral part of the Australian cricket landscape. What excites me most about the APL is it will provide kids with a clear pathway to play T20 cricket for the Brisbane Heat and hopefully beyond for any franchise on the world T20 circuit.”

Quote attributable to Joel Hamilton
“We are creating a brand and tournament for young cricketers so they can emulate their heroes and play the type of cricket they see on TV. We want them to feel what it’s like to be in a Big Bash or IPL team. The beauty of the APL is that it complements player’s rep and club cricket schedules which has always been our aim. We’re bringing something new to the Australian cricket landscape by providing additional competition opportunities within the player’s pathway to play more cricket and have fun.”

Quote attributable to Ziyaad Desai
“Cricket reaches across generations and cultures offering common ground for engaging in a wide range of social development activities including health promotion, social integration, education and gender equality. It also has the ability to break down any barriers which may exist between people. Through the APL, our objective is to grow the game from the grassroots level while allowing cricket to be the school for life.”