Australia news September 7, 2013

Month-long Ryobi Cup in Sydney confirmed

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The Ryobi Cup will be played exclusively in Sydney as a standalone tournament at the start of Australia's domestic summer this season, leaving space for only three rounds of Sheffield Shield cricket before the first Ashes Test. Three weeks from the start of the state competition, Cricket Australia has released its full domestic fixture for 2013-14, with clearly defined periods for all three formats, which will not overlap.

The Sheffield Shield will be played in two blocks, with six rounds of matches before Christmas and the remaining four rounds and the final to take place after the end of the Big Bash League. Cricket Australia has stressed that all Test players will have at least two and in many cases three Sheffield Shield matches to acclimatise to the longer format before the first Ashes Test at the Gabba in November.

The presence of a dedicated one-day period means the Shield will not begin until October 30, and that Australia's ODI players touring India through October and early November will miss only one round of four-day cricket. However, it also means that, depending on the timing of the announcement of Australia's squad for the first Test, some players will have only one or two Shield games to press their cases.

In the lead-up to the disastrous 2010-11 home Ashes, the state teams played four Shield matches before the first Test but Australia's main preparation problem was a Test and one-day tour of India in October that got the players used to the wrong conditions. That was followed by an ODI series at home against Sri Lanka while England were warming up against the red ball.

This summer, England will again play three warm-up matches before the first Test and the presence of the Ryobi Cup deep into late October means that an opportunity for the Australians to prepare with extra rounds of Shield cricket has been missed. Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland has at least indicated that this year most Test players will remain in Australia rather than touring India.

"From 30 October until mid-December there will an intensive block of Sheffield Shield cricket," he said. "All Test players will have a minimum of two and a maximum of three Shield matches to prepare for the first Ashes Test. Most Test players will already be in Australia but any Test players returning from the India ODI series will be available for rounds two and three before they assemble for the Ashes.

"While it remains an important proving ground, the Shield isn't the only measure used by selectors to assess Test aspirants. The Australia A program has been upgraded over the last two years to become an important step for those players seeking Australian selection, whether at Test or one-day international level."

The Ryobi Cup will be used as a season-launching competition that will run from September 29 to October 27. Teams will play six matches each before the final and notably every game will be held in Sydney, with Bankstown Oval, North Sydney Oval, Hurstville, Drummoyne and Blacktown to be the venues rather than the SCG. The majority of matches will be broadcast live on free-to-air television through the Nine Network HD channel Gem.

"We believe having a more clearly defined and blocked domestic schedule will give players the best chance to maximise their performance in each form of the game without the chopping and changing of previous years," Sutherland said. "Playing the Ryobi One-Day Cup in a tournament format in October will provide a strong start to the cricket season.

"While this move is a more expensive option for CA, our team performance unit believes replicating a tournament style competition for one-day cricket is the best way of preparing our one-day cricketers for one-day internationals and the World Cup in early 2015."

The Shield will run from October 30 to December 11, meaning players from outside the Test team will have plenty of red-ball cricket until the third Test, before the BBL begins on December 20. The BBL has also been trimmed by eight days at the back end after Cricket Australia earlier announced that the tournament would run for 58 days and finish with a final on February 15.

That has now been revised with the semi-finals and decider to be played over a four-day period and the tournament to be complete by February 7. The earlier finish means the Shield can restart by February 12, although that is still not soon enough to prepare players for the Test tour of South Africa in February.

"Once the format and schedule of the Ryobi One-Day Cup and Bupa Sheffield Shield became clear, we reviewed the KFC Big Bash League schedule, in consultation and with the support of our host broadcaster Network Ten, and have tightened the finals period into one week which will see the competition continue its momentum following the round matches and also provide a fitting climax to the competition," Sutherland said. "This also means it will be played immediately after our international T20 season.

"The second half of the Shield season will be played concurrently with the South Africa Test Series. This means that if replacement players are required for the Tests, those players will be playing red-ball cricket in Australia at the same time."

However, during round nine of the Shield it will pink-ball cricket, with day-night first-class matches to be trialled, as Cricket Australia had already announced. The three day-night matches will be Victoria hosting Tasmania at the MCG, South Australia playing New South Wales at Adelaide Oval and Queensland hosting Western Australia at the Gabba.

"We've had ambitions to play day-night Test cricket for some time and although there have been some false starts, we are determined to make day-night Test cricket a reality," Sutherland said.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on September 12, 2013, 0:33 GMT

    Just scrap the Ryobi Cup and start the Sheffield Shield earlier. No one gives a crap about one-day matches between the state teams. Seriously, how many Sydneysiders are going to want to watch Tassie vs SA or any other combination of teams when NSW is not playing? This is farcical. Sure, it's a good idea to schedule the three formats separately but they are still stuffing up the preparation for the Ashes. It's bad enough that we'll be playing seven meaningless 1-dayers in India during October.

  • on September 10, 2013, 12:00 GMT

    Think it's a much better fixture lost then normal and love the ryobi cup as a Sydney sider I will get out to bankstown and hurst vile for these games should be a great atmosphere

  • warnerbasher on September 10, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    Wow. Hosting the Olympics and the Ryobi Cup in my lifetime.What a city!!!!!

  • pips on September 9, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    The Ryobi Cup elim final (2nd v 3rd) seems unnecessary to me. Just have top 2 finishers playing off for final. It effectively punishes the team finishing on top - they have to wait around losing touch (potentially 8 day wait if its Tassie) before they can play for the prize. If CA wants more games, make the final between 1 & 2 a best of 3.

  • Green_and_Gold on September 9, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    Seems a lot of people are complaining about the one day comp being played in sydney - I feel for the fans who make the effort to show up to matches - they are the real losers in this change - otherwise it may not be a bad move - we will just have to wait and see.

  • PFEL on September 9, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    @RJHB you are absolutely correct. Australian cricket will get worse, but Cricket Australia will milk the game for all the money they can get before they destroy it completely. Good times.

  • xtrafalgarx on September 9, 2013, 2:14 GMT

    @Bobagorof, They will have two matches, and they would have had their whole lives to get used to Australian conditions!

    Everyone complaining about the ryobi cup, it's understandable. But when i went to the MCG final laster year, hardly any people showed up! So instead of criticizing how about turning up. CA need money at the end of the day, that's why they are gearing it towards the big bash because that's where they really cash in.

  • stuartk319 on September 8, 2013, 23:55 GMT

    Sure, the BBL has forced this, but for once I actually think CA have made an excellent decision separating the 3 formats in this way. I think domestic limited over games should always be played at suburban or regional grounds, people actually come and watch and the atmosphere is good. I'm from Sydney and will get along to most of these matches after work. @Lees_Legends; I agree that last year's NSW v VIC game @ North Sydney was a bowler killing farce. 250 or 260 is a good score at Bankstown & Drummoyne, though, hope Blacktown & Hurstville are similar.

  • silly_mid_on on September 8, 2013, 23:39 GMT

    I agree. James Sutherland does not understand cricket. So many of our problems have coincided with James Sutherland and the programming that takes players away from first class cricket and into 20 over rubbish. There has been a decline in skills due to this. The game is not about money, it is about the beauty and heritage of the greatest game of all. We want to see quality long-form cricket with the best players in the best form, not a money grabbing bash. And cricket pitches that don't crumble on the second day.

  • DragonCricketer on September 8, 2013, 22:52 GMT

    I suppose Next year all Ryobi matched will be played at outer Sydney 2nd grade parks.

  • on September 12, 2013, 0:33 GMT

    Just scrap the Ryobi Cup and start the Sheffield Shield earlier. No one gives a crap about one-day matches between the state teams. Seriously, how many Sydneysiders are going to want to watch Tassie vs SA or any other combination of teams when NSW is not playing? This is farcical. Sure, it's a good idea to schedule the three formats separately but they are still stuffing up the preparation for the Ashes. It's bad enough that we'll be playing seven meaningless 1-dayers in India during October.

  • on September 10, 2013, 12:00 GMT

    Think it's a much better fixture lost then normal and love the ryobi cup as a Sydney sider I will get out to bankstown and hurst vile for these games should be a great atmosphere

  • warnerbasher on September 10, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    Wow. Hosting the Olympics and the Ryobi Cup in my lifetime.What a city!!!!!

  • pips on September 9, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    The Ryobi Cup elim final (2nd v 3rd) seems unnecessary to me. Just have top 2 finishers playing off for final. It effectively punishes the team finishing on top - they have to wait around losing touch (potentially 8 day wait if its Tassie) before they can play for the prize. If CA wants more games, make the final between 1 & 2 a best of 3.

  • Green_and_Gold on September 9, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    Seems a lot of people are complaining about the one day comp being played in sydney - I feel for the fans who make the effort to show up to matches - they are the real losers in this change - otherwise it may not be a bad move - we will just have to wait and see.

  • PFEL on September 9, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    @RJHB you are absolutely correct. Australian cricket will get worse, but Cricket Australia will milk the game for all the money they can get before they destroy it completely. Good times.

  • xtrafalgarx on September 9, 2013, 2:14 GMT

    @Bobagorof, They will have two matches, and they would have had their whole lives to get used to Australian conditions!

    Everyone complaining about the ryobi cup, it's understandable. But when i went to the MCG final laster year, hardly any people showed up! So instead of criticizing how about turning up. CA need money at the end of the day, that's why they are gearing it towards the big bash because that's where they really cash in.

  • stuartk319 on September 8, 2013, 23:55 GMT

    Sure, the BBL has forced this, but for once I actually think CA have made an excellent decision separating the 3 formats in this way. I think domestic limited over games should always be played at suburban or regional grounds, people actually come and watch and the atmosphere is good. I'm from Sydney and will get along to most of these matches after work. @Lees_Legends; I agree that last year's NSW v VIC game @ North Sydney was a bowler killing farce. 250 or 260 is a good score at Bankstown & Drummoyne, though, hope Blacktown & Hurstville are similar.

  • silly_mid_on on September 8, 2013, 23:39 GMT

    I agree. James Sutherland does not understand cricket. So many of our problems have coincided with James Sutherland and the programming that takes players away from first class cricket and into 20 over rubbish. There has been a decline in skills due to this. The game is not about money, it is about the beauty and heritage of the greatest game of all. We want to see quality long-form cricket with the best players in the best form, not a money grabbing bash. And cricket pitches that don't crumble on the second day.

  • DragonCricketer on September 8, 2013, 22:52 GMT

    I suppose Next year all Ryobi matched will be played at outer Sydney 2nd grade parks.

  • on September 8, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    Sorry that should read James Sutherland....

  • on September 8, 2013, 12:03 GMT

    Time for Cameron Sutherland to go. This fixture proves it. Very poor.

  • scarab666 on September 8, 2013, 9:54 GMT

    What a stupid decision by CA and all the other states should protest.......how dare they.......this is a national competition, which means, it is played around the country not in one city alone. It seems obvious now that CA is definitely pandering to the TV Execs at the expense of the true supporters of the game.

  • mick82 on September 8, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    Umm looking at the fixtures i can't help but notice that the sand gropers are playing a 4 day shield game at the G at the same time they are playing an English selection at the WACA. Its going to be tough but im sure Sutherland will make this possible. What a leader!

  • on September 8, 2013, 4:05 GMT

    I enjoy watching shield cricket but I love watching the Ryobi Cup from the Waca member stand..so dissapointed that theres no one dayers in Perth...any word on fixtures for the Futures League?

  • RJHB on September 8, 2013, 2:27 GMT

    All the changes to the domestic schedule are only done for the betterment of the Big Bash, any other reasons or excuses given are purely window dressing. So now the first class season is shortened. Isn't it time the domestic ODI comp is ditched completely? It is now utterly irrelevant.

  • smudgeon on September 8, 2013, 1:25 GMT

    The main thing you can infer is that 50-over cricket has been marginalised in favour of two things: money (the BBL during the prime season) and test success (getting a few games of uninterrupted Shield in before the home test series). I'm quite in favour of the idea of the Shield being uninterrupted by pyjama rubbish - a few players last domestic season had trouble with the constant switching of gears between formats. The idea of a separate 50-overs carnival is good in the sense that it allows cricketers to focus on each format separately, and more importantly, Test hopefuls (and incumbents!) can focus on long-form cricket leading into the Ashes series. I just wonder whether this then leads to an issue where potential ODI cricketers get picked on their Shield form - oh, the irony! The BBL will probably function as a de-facto guide here, of course. Still, it looks like part of a trend towards the end of ODI cricket's importance and relevance to the cricketing public.

  • bobagorof on September 8, 2013, 1:12 GMT

    So the touring team gets 3 warm-up matches to acclimatise, whereas the home side players (already in the team) have two. I'm sure this will work out well.

  • class9ryan on September 8, 2013, 0:46 GMT

    Australia's domestic structure has always been very good. This time around with the Ashes coming up, no body would mind bouncier tracks in all the games, but from next year, if the Shield pitches could regain the uniqueness they had. Its only then when u could see more no. of batsmen coming up.

  • siddhartha87 on September 7, 2013, 15:34 GMT

    great.3 rounds of Shield before the Ashes. I hope Bailey scores heavily in those 3 rounds.He has the potential to be a great no 5 batsman.

  • PutMarshyOn on September 7, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    If this stands Circus Australia, prior to the first test, expect a generation of batsmen to develop/refine the discipline to bat for long periods in 2 games after bish-bosh for a month? The shield games after BBL are too late to be useful.

    It is to be commended that the Ryobi doesn't interfere with the FC stuff but really the problem is BBL. T20 is slaughtering the art of batting in Australia. What would The Don make of it all?

  • on September 7, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    Looking forward to the ryobi cup on GEM!!! This hopefully will generate more interest in domestic comps.

  • s.sreekant on September 7, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    They say the team wants maximum practice before a ashes and they prepare schedule like this???

    CA should add one or 2 more county team to already existing 6 so that few more can have chance in domestic circle and they need to promote cricket among youngsters and rural area.

    Why cant they have an extra 2nd string team(players who could make in the team in future) and match up against the "A" team or main team before a big series.There is a long gap between domestic season and not many play in English county. So they should have 2 sets of team(potential future players and out of form players) other than the main stream team and match up against each other before start of a big series such as ashes,play matches regularly. With current state of the OZ cricket i don't see any youngster coming up in rank,only a few late 28s average player not a single prodigy is coming up!!!!

  • anton1234 on September 7, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    Sounds to me Australians have decided ODI cricket is on its last legs and the future is 4 day cricket and T20s. A month tournament all played in the same city with no home advantage for teams, seems to me they are playing the tournament for the sake of it i.e. because they have to. I agree with them. The 50 over game is stale mostly with lots of one sided matches. When you get one sided matches in the 50 over game it can be painful to watch. In contrast, one sided T20 matches are few and not a bore as innings only last 20 overs and you will get some aggression even in a losing cause.

    If they want to revive the one day game, I'd suggest 40 overs a side with only 2 blocks of 5 over field restrictions (one in the first 10 overs and the second block in the last 20 overs), perhaps use a designated hitter (who won't field or bowl) but will come in for power hitting. Award 7 runs for long sixes (like 100 metres and 8 runs for 120 metres). Make the 2015 world cup last ever 50 over tourny.

  • RFC73 on September 7, 2013, 9:54 GMT

    The aussies have handled the fixture list better than we did. Remember we had to play that farcical match against Essex rather than CC matches because the fixture list at the time was full of 20 20.

  • on September 7, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    Good schedule, But they need to another sheild team with NT and ACT. This team can play their home matches at canberra and darwin. Also that will increase the sheild games and improve a players pool. I wish 2015 afterwards BBL will be played in Feb/March.

  • dirtydozen on September 7, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    they have made it like the west indies, but its good that ryobi cup is help in october, otherwise most of the matches would be abandoned due to rains. i hope it does not turn like windies domestic cricket. Australian cricket is in a transition phase just like late 70's or early 80's, i hope the team will bounce back 3-4 years. I think they should add more domestic like canberra and darwin in sheffield as well then they can add it in one day or 20/20.

  • KhanMitch on September 7, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    I would have liked more 4 day games but i will take this, its better preperation then what we had last ashes. As a bulls fan the likes of Khawaja, urns, Forrest et al effectively have 2 matches before the test and i hoping Khawaja piles the runs as he will do much better in the pacy pitches here at home. The 3rd game finishes on the 16th and the squad will be picked beforehand. I am happy that we send the other test batsman such as Smith and Warner home as well so they can play more long form cricket. Last year's season started on 18th September. Mid season there is a TWO MONTH gap for BBL and the Shield resumes as the touring party leaves for South Africa. So its an improvement from last season.

  • Sunil_Batra on September 7, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    I applaud CA for making sure the shield matches are just before the ashes but i am dissapointed we will only get 2-3 shield matches only because there is an ashes coming. For our test batsman such as Rogers, Khawaja, Warner etc they would have wanted more shield games.

  • on September 7, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    Awesome! Clarity and structure! This way fans know exactly what's going on when and players have minimum jumps between formats.

    One drawback of the timing of the Big Bash is that it coincides with the international matches, so you will have t20 and tests/odis on the same day albeit one during the day and one during the night. This also means the national players can't play the big bash. Perhaps they could play the big bash at the beginning of the season instead of the ryobi cup. This would allow top quality international players to participate in the big bash along with the national team...taking it to a whole new level! Even though it wouldn't be during school holidays, people could still go watch the t20, much as they currently do for friday/monday nigh footy. The international season would then just sit on top of the shield and ryobi (which nobody watches), played concurrently as before. Thus there is no competition for eyeballs between the two big money spinners of the season.

  • wix99 on September 7, 2013, 5:02 GMT

    I still don't think Cricket Australia has got it right. This is all driven by marketing and sponsors, not about developing the Test level batsmen Australia desperately needs.

  • Barnesy4444 on September 7, 2013, 4:35 GMT

    If it's a successful Ryobi cup tournament, nobody will remember. If it's a successful BBL, nobody will remember. If we lose the Ashes again, EVERYBODY will remember.

  • sidzy on September 7, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    Wow!! Finally something coming out of Australia that makes sense.

  • Lees_Legends on September 7, 2013, 3:47 GMT

    Oh lord, more one day games at puny games like the North Sydney Oval? These ill-suited venues serve two purposes, neither of them good. 1) give an inflated view of batsman and their ability to hit 'sixes' and 2) kill a bowler's confidence.

  • dwblurb on September 7, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    This move is getting a lot of stick from posters on the CA site, but I support it. In an ideal world you would ditch the farce that is the BBL, or at least play it at the end of the season, but that not being possible this seems as good a solution as could be hoped for. All blocks of Shield games starting on the same day provides certainty, and having the one-dayers in one block means the players won't constantly be chopping and changing between formats. Now to prepare some decent Shield wickets, and players might just have a chance again.

  • on September 7, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    The ODI jaunt to India seems grossly ill-timed and at the cost of what ought to be at least 3-4 mandatory rounds of Shield before Tests instead of the 1-2 most will realistically manage before a side's named. That's a further rollback by a couple of weeks and not unachievable. A start nonetheless and a lot more cohesive than recent attempts at jeopardising the self. Hopefully build on this with better streamlining/scheduling next term.

  • on September 7, 2013, 3:20 GMT

    is this also to be applied to feeder cricket - emerging (2nd XI) and district/subdistrict? if it was then this could be a most sensible reorganisation. if it stops at state firsts level then the existing structural weakness will continue and it will not resolve the long term problems which go deep into the juniors

  • PFEL on September 7, 2013, 3:13 GMT

    I am speechless. It's like they took a look at the root of Australian Cricket's problems over the last few years and decided to do everything in their power to make it worse.

  • Edwards_Anderson on September 7, 2013, 3:07 GMT

    Looking forward to the shield fixtures, keep an eye on the likes of Warner, Khawaja Burns, and others putting up runs to cement their spots in the home ashes.

  • stickboy on September 7, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    Seriously?? So the players who play only in the one day domestic teams will have a month of cricket and that's it? A pretty drastic measure I think, simply because we have done average in tests recently?? Will this help our one day team and isn't the world cup important anymore???

  • on September 7, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    Love it. Finally the players will have a structure to base their domestic season and preparations around. I'm hoping this will provide a higher quality Domestic cricket and a greater level of interest from the general public as a result.

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  • on September 7, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    Love it. Finally the players will have a structure to base their domestic season and preparations around. I'm hoping this will provide a higher quality Domestic cricket and a greater level of interest from the general public as a result.

  • stickboy on September 7, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    Seriously?? So the players who play only in the one day domestic teams will have a month of cricket and that's it? A pretty drastic measure I think, simply because we have done average in tests recently?? Will this help our one day team and isn't the world cup important anymore???

  • Edwards_Anderson on September 7, 2013, 3:07 GMT

    Looking forward to the shield fixtures, keep an eye on the likes of Warner, Khawaja Burns, and others putting up runs to cement their spots in the home ashes.

  • PFEL on September 7, 2013, 3:13 GMT

    I am speechless. It's like they took a look at the root of Australian Cricket's problems over the last few years and decided to do everything in their power to make it worse.

  • on September 7, 2013, 3:20 GMT

    is this also to be applied to feeder cricket - emerging (2nd XI) and district/subdistrict? if it was then this could be a most sensible reorganisation. if it stops at state firsts level then the existing structural weakness will continue and it will not resolve the long term problems which go deep into the juniors

  • on September 7, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    The ODI jaunt to India seems grossly ill-timed and at the cost of what ought to be at least 3-4 mandatory rounds of Shield before Tests instead of the 1-2 most will realistically manage before a side's named. That's a further rollback by a couple of weeks and not unachievable. A start nonetheless and a lot more cohesive than recent attempts at jeopardising the self. Hopefully build on this with better streamlining/scheduling next term.

  • dwblurb on September 7, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    This move is getting a lot of stick from posters on the CA site, but I support it. In an ideal world you would ditch the farce that is the BBL, or at least play it at the end of the season, but that not being possible this seems as good a solution as could be hoped for. All blocks of Shield games starting on the same day provides certainty, and having the one-dayers in one block means the players won't constantly be chopping and changing between formats. Now to prepare some decent Shield wickets, and players might just have a chance again.

  • Lees_Legends on September 7, 2013, 3:47 GMT

    Oh lord, more one day games at puny games like the North Sydney Oval? These ill-suited venues serve two purposes, neither of them good. 1) give an inflated view of batsman and their ability to hit 'sixes' and 2) kill a bowler's confidence.

  • sidzy on September 7, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    Wow!! Finally something coming out of Australia that makes sense.

  • Barnesy4444 on September 7, 2013, 4:35 GMT

    If it's a successful Ryobi cup tournament, nobody will remember. If it's a successful BBL, nobody will remember. If we lose the Ashes again, EVERYBODY will remember.