Australia news August 7, 2012

September start for Australian domestic season

ESPNcricinfo staff
18

Australia's domestic season will start nearly a month earlier than usual this year, with the first Ryobi Cup match set for September 16 and the opening Sheffield Shield game to start two days later. The WACA and Sydney's Bankstown Oval will both host September fixtures after Cricket Australia sought ways to start the season early, in part to allow players plenty of games before the first Test of the summer, against South Africa beginning on November 9.

The season also faced a squeezed due to the Champions League Twenty20 being held in October instead of its usual September slot, with players from the Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers unavailable for nearly three weeks. The problem has been alleviated somewhat by New South Wales and Western Australia being given a break from Shield and Ryobi Cup commitments during that period, although not all the Sixers and Scorchers players are from those two states.

Although the early start means September matches will clash with the AFL and NRL finals - there will be Shield cricket on both AFL and NRL grand final days - Cricket Australia has managed to avoid cutting down on the number of matches in the Shield or Ryobi Cup. The Sheffield Shield final will remain in place and will again be a five-day encounter that will be televised, and has been set down for March 22 to 26.

"Cricket Australia has this year moved to start the interstate season almost a month earlier than last year to provide players with the best preparation for the summer ahead," James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, said. "The first Vodafone Test in Brisbane is starting three weeks earlier than last season and we want to align our interstate programming accordingly to provide players with adequate opportunities to prepare for that series, as well as providing aspirants with plenty of opportunities.

"There are plenty of challenges with scheduling and we know it's never going to align perfectly for everyone, however we feel this schedule will give our players the best opportunities to prepare and push for international honours. I have no doubt there will be comment about starting the season while football codes are still in operation, but we want to give our cricketers the best opportunities to prepare for international cricket and balancing that with an opportunity for some to play on a global stage, such as at Champions League Twenty20."

The BBL schedule was released last month.

Sheffield Shield
September 18-21: Western Australia v New South Wales, WACA
September 26-29: New South Wales v Tasmania, Bankstown Oval
September 30-October 3: Western Australia v Victoria, WACA
October 1-4: Queensland v South Australia, Gabba
October 9-12: South Australia v Tasmania, Adelaide Oval
October 10-13: Queensland v Victoria, Gabba
October 23-26: Victoria v Tasmania, MCG
October 23-26: South Australia v Queensland, Adelaide Oval
November 2-5: Tasmania v South Australia, Bellerive Oval
November 2-5, Queensland v New South Wales, Allan Border Field
November 2-5: Victoria v Western Australia, MCG
November 9-12: Tasmania v Queensland, Bellerive Oval
November 12-15: Western Australia v South Australia, WACA
November 13-16: New South Wales v Victoria, SCG
November 23-26: Victoria v South Australia, MCG
November 26-29: Tasmania v Western Australia, Bellerive Oval
November 27-30: New South Wales v Queensland, Manuka Oval, Canberra
January 24-27: New South Wales v Western Australia, Blacktown Oval
January 24-27: South Australia v Victoria, Adelaide Oval
February 4-7: Queensland v Western Australia, Gabba
February 6-9: Tasmania v New South Wales, Bellerive Oval
February 18-21: Victoria v Queensland, MCG
February 19-22: South Australia v New South Wales, Adelaide Oval
February 21-24: Western Australia v Tasmania, WACA
March 7-10: Queensland v Tasmania, Gabba
March 7-10: Victoria v New South Wales, MCG
March 7-10: South Australia v Western Australia, Adelaide Oval
March 14-17: Tasmania v Victoria, Bellerive Oval
March 14-17: New South Wales v South Australia, SCG
March 14-17: Western Australia v Queensland, WACA
March 22-26: Final, TBC

Ryobi Cup
September 16: Western Australia v New South Wales, WACA
September 28: Western Australia v Victoria, WACA
October 7: Queensland v Victoria, Gabba
October 14: South Ausutralia v Tasmania, Adelaide Oval
October 21: South Australia v Queensland, Adelaide Oval
October 28: Victoria v Tasmania, MCG
October 31: Tasmania v South Australia, Bellerive Oval
November 7: Victoria v Western Australia, MCG
November 14: Tasmania v Queensland, Bellerive Oval
November 17: Western Australia v South Australia, WACA
November 18: New South Wales v Victoria, North Sydney Oval
November 21: Queensland v New South Wales, Gabba
November 28: Victoria v South Australia, MCG
December 1: Tasmania v Western Australia, Burnie
December 2: New South Wales v Queensland, Manuka Oval, Canberra
January 27: Queensland v Tasmania, Gabba
January 30: New South Wales v Western Australia, SCG
February 2: Queensland v Western Australia, Gabba
February 9: South Australia v Victoria, Adelaide Oval
February 11: Tasmania v New South Wales, Bellerive Oval
February 14: New South Wales v South Australia, SCG
February 16: Victoria v Queensland, MCG
February 17: South Australia v New South Wales, Adelaide Oval
February 19: Western Australia v Tasmania, WACA
February 27: Final, TBC

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on August 10, 2012, 0:32 GMT

    @katandthat3 - given the overseas quota restrictions that have been in place in County cricket over the last 6(?)yrs or so, I think A-team tours to England are very important moving fwd for Oz cricketers. I think the Futures League is a potentially great vehicle for player development in Oz, but I get the feeling Cric Oz don't know quite what to do with it.

  • Meety on August 10, 2012, 0:26 GMT

    @the_informant - re: the scheduling, there was about 8 or 9 yrs from 1999 where the SCG NY Test was the last on the calender. In the last 5 yrs, 3 of the seasons have had later tests & with next yr the same. I would imagine that 5-test summers like the Ashes, would see the season finish with the SCG test. I would imagine that Oz have not hosted Zim & Bang recently, that there could be more pressure to host more tests in a summer (look at England with their May Tests), which would mean January could be used more often. Regardless, I would hope that there is some sort of viable match practise for test possibles & probables in the period after the BBL commences. No breaks in the Shield Summer has some good benefits, the team that wins is the form side, whereas a hiatus makes it almost makes it 2 competitions. I'd prefer condensing the BBL schedule (harder due to distances). I think there are cost benefits tacking the Ryobi before or after a Shield match, but do see benefits having a block

  • zenboomerang on August 9, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    @the_informant... Tried to post this after my 1st reply: I also like the idea of breaking up the 3 formats - never liked 20/20 being played in tandem with SS & Ryobi - don't think it is good for batters skills & head-space... With only 10 SS games + final, the series could easily finish up in the week leading up to Christmas... Why not Shield to Christmas, BBL through Dec/Jan, Ryobi in February giving the newbies to cricket, series that are not all jumbled up & have some continuity?... & yes agree, Tests do finish in early January generally & the Aust Day Test in Adelaide is disappearing - the Oz schedule until 2020 supports this except the 2 Test series v SL in early Jan 2019...

  • katandthat3 on August 9, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    I like @the_informant's ideas as well for the SS. It shouldn't be the ugly sister to the BBL. Those times make sense, get a lot more people after work or school and better for TV times. I would love to see a game of the round of SS on Fox. The players see it as a vital comp and for Australia's push to get back to the top and sustain it, needs a vibrant and relevant 1st class structure with the Futures League included. I think if CA are series about results, getting more A tours to places that are on the radar for the test team tours makes sense also. I'm sure the squad will get a lot out of the current UK tour than the ODI series that was played. Need to get as many of our 1st class cricketers exposure to different conditions and opposition and A tours are a good way of doing that. It's going to take time for CA to get the balance right as the BBL is taking off, sooner the better. Now I'm going to look forward to watching the U-19's WC from this weekend.

  • the_informant on August 9, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    @Meety I think you'll find the majority of years the Sydney New Years test is the final one of the season. When India are the touring team the tests are played further into January as they were this year and closed heavily with the BBL. I still think the 2 month break harms the Shield and Ryobi Cup, there's no continuity for the fans to truly engage with it...that's whey I'd have them as free-standing competitions.

  • katandthat3 on August 8, 2012, 21:38 GMT

    Attended the current CA Roadshow that's been going around the country and T20 is what is bringing in the cash & also new people to the game, the next gen & females too, also what @zenboomerang said. They are also launching T20 Blast which is targeting the younger kids after they play 'Into Cricket'. I love Tests and ODI and T20 comes in third but I still enjoy it and T20 is what is attracting more people to the game much like World Series did in the late 70's. Trying to fit it all in is the issue and you might see CA play SS games in the Northern States in the early season. Does it matter it clashes with footy? Think of the people who turn up to SS, no impact there, the players would prefer if SS season hasn't been reduced. Due to what the BBL means to CA, it has to be played during the peak school holidays/xmas period. Agree with @Meety that they have to ensure the Futures Comp is strong as well. Glad Fox continue to show Ryobi, BBL and stream SS. Should be a packed summer, can't wait

  • zenboomerang on August 8, 2012, 10:33 GMT

    @the_informant... By far the most succinct comment amongst some uninformed mumblings... The Shield runs at a loss, the Ryobi nearly covers its costs while the BBL was a major winner in both spectator numbers & profit - the 1st BBL game in Sydney attracted 50,000 with a third being 1st time cricket attendee's... Been to many Shield games & lucky to see more than just a handful of spectators - even on weekends (outside the members)... I doubt if most posters have ever gone to a game, let alone taken their families there - unlike the BBL which was a great time for families last summer... Some forms of cricket need to adapt to changing spectator needs or lose that audience...

  • Meety on August 8, 2012, 8:11 GMT

    @the_informant - don't mind those ideas, although I think you'll find it hard to have the tests series over & done with by the 1st week in January, I'd also suggest it would be hard to get the BBL to run whilst the Shield formats are on due to BBL commitments meaning players could have commitments on opposite sides of the country. In response to "...a 2-month break in the middle (what other sporting competition does that) - it could be argued the NRL does that with the State of Origin + Anzac test in the middle of the season, the comp is not in hiatus, but there are less games each week during this period. I understand that the BBL's popularity relies on being played primarily during the School Holidays, IF the season HAS to be like what CA has just put fwd, I would want either the Futures League ramped up (so they could pull a reserve player out of the BBL for FC form), or maybe have a 1 week break in the BBL (early Jan) - & have another round of Shield. This would help with Jan Tests

  • the_informant on August 8, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    One thing the success of the Big Bash has highlighted for me is that Australian domestic cricket is a 'sleeping giant' with potential for the Shield and OD cup to be revamped to increase profile and audience. Rather than The Sheffield Shield bookending the season with a 2-month break in the middle (what other sporting competition does that) I'd like to see the Shield run concurrently with the test series (Sept-Oct-Nov-Dec-1st wk of Jan) so that first class players can vie for test selection. Shield games on Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun and run from 1pm-9pm with a match-of-the-round televised on Fox. The history of the Shield would be emphasised with the reintroduction of heritage logos on New Era caps etc. The Big Bash would start in late Dec and after the final test in Sydney would have an exclusive window leading on to a Federation Shield T20 knock-out (state) which would lead to T20Is. Then the Ryobi Cup would be run concurrently with ODIs (Feb-Mar) to close off the season.

  • getaclue on August 8, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    @Ben1989 - you love AFL but you'll watch a first round shield game rather than the AFL GF? You've got to be kidding!

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