The Melbourne Renegades have secured the services of England dynamo Liam Livingstone for the upcoming Big Bash League, selecting him as the No. 1 pick at the inaugural BBL Draft.

On Sunday evening, the eight Big Bash franchises fought over 332 cricketers from 20 countries, with approximately $6 million in salary contracts going up for grabs.

Livingstone, who has previously represented the Perth Scorchers, will ply his trade for the Renegades this summer, while the men in red also picked up talented Afghan tweaker Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

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“We are very happy,” Renegades veteran Aaron Finch told Fox Cricket.

“What he offers with the bat is exceptional. He’s got a great record over the last couple of years. What he delivers in the field and with the ball, he’s a great fit for the Renegades.

“He’s so versatile. Being really flexible up and down the order is so useful in the Big Bash. With the power surge, guys like him are so hard to bowl to. It was a no-brainer for us.”

But to the surprise of many cricket pundits, former South African captain Faf du Plessis, along with West Indies greats Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, were not selected by any club due to availability.

World Cup champion Jason Roy was also let through to the keeper, leaving about $1.7 million worth of platinum players unpicked.

The five snubbed players were expected to leave the Big Bash before the finals to participate in high-paying T20 domestic tournaments in South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, and the eight clubs saved their picks for cricketers who would be available for the entire summer.

With a fresh broadcast deal looming, the loss of du Plessis, Russell, Bravo, Pollard and Roy comes as a huge blow to CA after free-to-air broadcaster Channel 7 launched Federal Court action against the organisation in a bid to terminate its TV rights deal.

Seven was adamant the cricketers that featured in last summer’s BBL were not of a high enough quality for the competition to meet the standard provisions stipulated in CA’s TV rights contract.

The newly-introduced BBL Draft was supposed to bring household names into the competition, but the clubs have chosen availability over bums on seats.

Fox Sports News reporter Justin Edwards tweeted: “It’s totally understandable for the clubs to prioritise availability over star power. They’re trying to win. But if the measure of success for the BBL Draft was adding overseas stars, it’s been a huge fail.”

Adelaide cricket fans breathed a sigh of relief after the Strikers retained Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan with their first pick, forcing the Melbourne Stars to select New Zealand veteran paceman Trent Boult.

“Our plan was always to retain Rashid,” Strikers coach Jason Gillespie said.

“He’s a wonderful player, wonderful person, he’s been brilliant for our franchise over a number of years and absolutely delighted to have him back.”

The Brisbane Heat chose England wicketkeeper Sam Billings for their No. 4 pick, with the Sydney Thunder opting not to retain the gloveman and instead poach countryman David Willey, who unlike most of the platinum players is expected to be available for the entire tournament.

Meanwhile, reigning champions the Perth Scorchers elected to pass on their round one pick, which is reserved for platinum players, later securing England’s Laurie Evans on a retention pick.

The Hobart Hurricanes, led by former Australian captain Ricky Ponting, walked away from the draft with three Pakistani cricketers on their roster — Shadab Khan, Asif Ali and Faheem Ashraf.

“(Khan’s) a high-class international leg-spinner, very handy with the bat as well, he’s a gun in the field, so we think we’re bringing in a three-dimensional cricketer into our sport,” Ponting said.

“He’s got reasonable availability looking into what he might be available for, might miss a week in the middle and then be available for the finals if we make them, so we’re doing what most other teams are doing and looking to get these international players for as long as we can and he fits exactly what we need.”

Round 1 Picks

1. Liam Livingstone — Melbourne Renegades

2. Rashid Khan — Adelaide Strikers (retention pick)

3. Trent Boult — Melbourne Stars

4. Sam Billings — Brisbane Heat

5. Chris Jordan — Sydney Sixers

6. Pass — Perth Scorchers

7. David Willey — Sydney Thunder

8. Shadab Khan — Hobart Hurricanes

Round 2 Picks

9. Mujeeb Ur Rahman – Melbourne Renegades

10. Joe Clarke – Melbourne Stars

11. Colin Munro – Brisbane Heat

12. Laurie Evans – Perth Scorchers (retention pick)

13. James Vince – Sydney Sixers

14. Colin de Grandhomme – Adelaide Strikers

15. Alex Hales – Sydney Thunder

16. Asif Ali – Hobart Hurricanes

Round 3 Picks

17. Faheem Ashraf – Hobart Hurricanes

18. Rilee Rossouw – Sydney Thunder

19. Phil Salt – Perth Scorchers

20. Adam Hose – Adelaide Strikers

21. Pass – Sydney Sixers

22. Pass – Brisbane Heat

23. Luke Wood – Melbourne Stars

24. Pass – Melbourne Renegades

Round 4 Picks

25. Akiel Hossain — Melbourne Renegades

26. Pass — Melbourne Stars

27. Ross White — Brisbane Heat

28. Izharaulhaq Naveed — Sydney Sixers

29. Pass — Adelaide Strikers

30. Tymal Mills — Perth Scorchers

31. Pass — Sydney Thunder

32. Pass — Hobart Hurricanes

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