Cricket bats on

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - BEN HORNE

THE sun was yet to rise in Syd­ney’s west at 6.30am yes­ter­day morn­ing and al­ready David Warner, Glenn Maxwell and Pe­ter Hand­scomb were out shoot­ing a com­mer­cial for Asics.

By 10am a feed­ing frenzy had bro­ken out over Big Bash League sig­na­tures and later in the day there were strong in­di­ca­tions that young leg- spin­ner Mitchell Swep­son was in the box seat to join the Test squad to tour Bangladesh and po­ten­tially oust Ash­ton Agar for a spot in the at­tack.

The ink had barely dried on the game’s long over­due Heads of Agree­ment and in an in­stant cricket woke from its rest­less hi­ber­na­tion quicker than a griz­zly bear poked with a stick.

The war is over but there is lost ground that must ur­gently be made up and that was no more ob­vi­ous than out in Black­town where Warner, Maxwell and Hand­scomb posed shiv­er­ing in the new Asics Test, one day and T20 ap­parel – all with empty real es­tate on the chest where a ma­jor spon­sor’s logo should be.

MasterCard is ru­moured to be one spon­sor in the run­ning for nam­ing rights on Aus­tralian shirts, and Cricket Aus­tralia hope to an­nounce their new cor­po­rate part­ners within the com­ing fort­night.

The com­pa­nies’ re­fusal to sign on the dot­ted line un­til the game’s fu­ture was se­cured was a ma­jor fac­tor that fi­nally ended the bit­ter stale­mate be­tween CA and the ACA.

Al­ready Asics ads will go to air and print with­out the ma­jor spon­sor’s logo dis­played on its shirts, but the of­fi­cial ap­parel brand is des­per­ate for con­fir­ma­tion soon so they can start pro­duc­ing the of­fi­cial replica mer­chan­dise that will spin cash reg­is­ters all sum­mer.

New beer part­ner XXXX has a car­ton ready to go dis­play­ing the Aus­tralian bowl­ing at­tack, but they haven’t been al­lowed to press print un­til an MOU was agreed upon.

The mo­ment state and BBL of­fices opened their doors yes­ter­day morn­ing, they also braced for in­stant may­hem.

It’s un­der­stood most BBL clubs only have eight play­ers signed for the com­ing sea­son and they must now turn non­bind­ing agree­ments ne­go­ti­ated dur­ing the MOU freeze into cer­ti­fied con­tracts.

How­ever, it’s un­der­stood some play­ers have used the non- bind­ing na­ture of their talks to test the wa­ters with ri­vals and see what of­fers they could get, and now clubs may be fight­ing each other for the same tal­ent.

State con­tract­ing should be a sim­pler process and the win­dow for that will close next Thurs­day, with some women al­ready sign­ing on to their lu­cra­tive new deals yes­ter­day and men ex­pected to fol­low suit early next week.

Thurs­day is also the day the Aus­tralian Test team will as­sem­ble in Dar­win for a train­ing camp to pre­pare for the two Test tour of Bangladesh kick­ing off at the end of this month.

Se­lec­tors are set to add a 14th player to the squad, with Swep­son the favourite.

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