Australia news August 7, 2012

September start for Australian domestic season

ESPNcricinfo staff

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

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