Australia news July 9, 2014

Australia could host winter Tests in 2017

  shares 17

Test cricket could return to far-northern Australia in 2017, with Bangladesh listed to visit for two Tests in August of that year, according to a draft of the new Future Tours Programme seen by ESPNcricinfo. If the draft FTP is signed off without any changes, Australia will also play longer Test campaigns against South Africa, with four Tests scheduled instead of three for each of the next three series.

The draft also has Australia listed to play India in either Tests or ODIs every season until the 2023 World Cup, while they would host at least one of India, England or South Africa every summer. That would prevent a repeat of the 2009-10 season, when the only tourists were West Indies and Pakistan, which led to a slump in public interest across the summer.

Other features of the draft include: seven Tests tentatively listed for the home summer of 2016-17; Australia and South Africa meeting for a Test or ODI series every season until 2021-22; and hosting duties for the World T20 in 2020-21. Notably, that World T20 is set to be followed immediately by four home Tests against South Africa, leaving little time for the players to get used to the change in formats.

Past FTP schedules have proven fluid, and series against Bangladesh have been among those postponed in the past. However, Australia were already due to visit Bangladesh for two Tests in October next year, which remains in the draft and should be their first Test series against Bangladesh since Jason Gillespie famously scored a double-century in Chittagong in 2006.

More notably, they have not hosted Bangladesh since 2003, and while they had been scheduled to play at home against Bangladesh in July 2018, that has been brought forward in the draft to August 2017. Darwin and Cairns were used for winter Test series in 2003 and 2004, but the venues were then shelved by Cricket Australia, with no Test cricket played there in the past decade.

However, if Australia were to host Tests in August, there would seem little choice but to consider such far-northern grounds again. The climate in southern Australia would be unsuitable and although Brisbane's weather might allow winter cricket - Australia A and India A played at Allan Border Field this week - the Gabba would be in use as an AFL venue at that time of year.

Seven Tests are listed for Australia's 2016-17 home summer, four against South Africa followed by three against Pakistan. However, the usual maximum in Australia is six Tests, and it is possible that in the final version of the FTP it will be trimmed back to six. In all, Australia are listed to play 100 Tests until the 2023 World Cup, including two in Zimbabwe in 2018, which were already in the FTP.

Also expected was the scheduling of Australia-India contests every season, due to the splitting of Test and one-day tours. The teams will meet for Tests and ODIs in Australia in 2014-15; ODIs in Australia in 2015-16; Tests in India in 2016-17; ODIs in India in 2017-18; Tests in Australia and ODIs in India in 2018-19; ODIs in Australia in 2019-20; T20s in Australia and Tests in India in 2020-21; ODIs in India in 2021-22; and ODIs in Australia in 2022-23.

In several cases, India's presence in Australia for ODIs should help to offset lower-drawing Test series, for example in 2015-16, when New Zealand and West Indies tour Australia for Tests, or in 2019-20, when Australia host Tests against Pakistan and West Indies. Either England or South Africa, also high-drawing teams in Australia, will tour if India do not.

Member nations have been told to sign their bilateral agreements by the next ICC Board meeting in October in order to firmly establish that FTP is both "binding and bankable".

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • flickspin on July 10, 2014, 15:29 GMT

    australia could also add canberra to host tests making 7 test venues in southern australia, this way they could play a 4 test series and 3 test series in the same year, or a 5 test series and 2 test series in the same year

    i dont know how much money a test earns cricket australia, but you can earn extra money by adding a 7th test venue

    towns like young,cooma,wagga wagga, albury and wodonga would travel to watch the game

    canberra hosting test would add to pitch diversity, the altitude might affect the ball

    last year they played a 50/50 game there, with new lights which were restricted by airline rules

    thier is a case to add a.c.t to the sheffield 4 day comp, the talent pool would be strong as players who can not make n.s.w or vic could play

    towns that would service a.c.t with players would be young,canberra,wagga,cooma and albury wodonga

    players from around that area who have played for australia are, m slater, m taylor, d christian, m bevan, n lyon, a macdonald and so on

  • flickspin on July 10, 2014, 14:34 GMT

    with alice springs in winter the sun rises at 7:15am and sets at 6:00pm so you might have to start the game at 9:30-10:00am

    i would like to set up a top first class competition with cairns,darwin, alice springs and broome

    it would consist of 4 day first class comp and 20/20 comp, to be played with a home and away comp

    it would be for players who cant get an english county cricket contract or a i.p.l contract

    it would also keep players in form, say a batsmen/bowler gets injured on a overseas tour you can fly a inform player

    players would love staying in the top end, in reality its a working holiday, you can go site seeing whilst playing cricket, which the player would enjoy

    im sure you could find sponsors to fund the comp( tourism and airline companies), it might cost a couple of millions of dollars to pay players, and run the comp

    i would make free admission for school kids, and set coaching clinics in remote and aboriginal communities, to help the game grow year after year

  • flickspin on July 10, 2014, 14:00 GMT

    i would like to see 4 top end test venues

    cairns, darwin, alice springs and broome, that way you can host a 4 test series or play zimbabwe and bangladesh in the same year

    australia has great pitch diversity and adding top end venues would only add to this

    cairns would be green, with bounce and tropical humidity which might make the ball swing and deviate off the green pitch

    darwin would be dry because of the dry season but i imagine would still be green

    alice springs would be dry and dusty being in the desert, and would spin , and would help australian cope better in the sub continent

    broome would be dry, because its in a arid enviroment but would have a strong ocean breeze which might help the ball swing

    being in the tropics you get 12 hours of sun every day of the year which makes it easy for player, you might have to start at 9:30-10:00 in alice springs

    it would help australia get used to a great variety of pitches

    i like the idea, this way we get cricket all year round

  • on July 10, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    townsville would be a better venue than either cairns or darwin

  • on July 9, 2014, 22:04 GMT

    Although the Gabba is unavailable in winter why not use Allan Border field? It's a high quality venue and although it has nowhere near the crowd capacity of the Gabba, it would hold more than Cairns/Darwin/Townsville with temporary seating. It would likely sell out for a Bangladesh game with a capacity of around 8000.

  • Jagger on July 9, 2014, 15:54 GMT

    Just so long as the Boxing Day Test is safe from South Africa.

  • on July 9, 2014, 15:27 GMT

    Since when Pakistan were a smaller team? They are above both India and England in tests and that's without home advantage!

  • mensan on July 9, 2014, 12:55 GMT

    It will be a failure of game and spectator interest to play India and England so often.often.

  • shaylin on July 9, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    I think that FTP is a draft. Adding test and ODI series to the northern cities is a great idea. I have been to Cairns, Darwin and Alice Springs and the weather is fine with 0% chance of heavy rain in July and August. Alice Springs impressed me for a city that size. It has a casino, great accommodation options and thriving cultural scene. And not to mention Alice Springs, like Cairns, has a golf course consistently ranked in the top 100 so there are few attractions for all tastes. Should throw in Townsville's Tony Ireland Stadium into the mix and the cities can host test and odis series against the lower ranked teams every 2-3 years during July and August.

  • smudgeon on July 9, 2014, 9:42 GMT

    I'd be interested to see other venues used, and I guess that would be a given during the Australian winter, seeing as AFL will be using the traditional cricket grounds. I like the idea of Alice Springs in the winter. Didn't Townsville or Cairns just host the U-19 world cup? Just on the seemingly never-ending series v India, I guess this is due to the large Indian ex-pat communities in Australia (as well as the income from playing India) means plenty of bums on seat. I don't mind the aggro so much, to be honest: I see it as a sign of a strong rivalry. Long as it doesn't turn into ugliness off the field, of course.

  • flickspin on July 10, 2014, 15:29 GMT

    australia could also add canberra to host tests making 7 test venues in southern australia, this way they could play a 4 test series and 3 test series in the same year, or a 5 test series and 2 test series in the same year

    i dont know how much money a test earns cricket australia, but you can earn extra money by adding a 7th test venue

    towns like young,cooma,wagga wagga, albury and wodonga would travel to watch the game

    canberra hosting test would add to pitch diversity, the altitude might affect the ball

    last year they played a 50/50 game there, with new lights which were restricted by airline rules

    thier is a case to add a.c.t to the sheffield 4 day comp, the talent pool would be strong as players who can not make n.s.w or vic could play

    towns that would service a.c.t with players would be young,canberra,wagga,cooma and albury wodonga

    players from around that area who have played for australia are, m slater, m taylor, d christian, m bevan, n lyon, a macdonald and so on

  • flickspin on July 10, 2014, 14:34 GMT

    with alice springs in winter the sun rises at 7:15am and sets at 6:00pm so you might have to start the game at 9:30-10:00am

    i would like to set up a top first class competition with cairns,darwin, alice springs and broome

    it would consist of 4 day first class comp and 20/20 comp, to be played with a home and away comp

    it would be for players who cant get an english county cricket contract or a i.p.l contract

    it would also keep players in form, say a batsmen/bowler gets injured on a overseas tour you can fly a inform player

    players would love staying in the top end, in reality its a working holiday, you can go site seeing whilst playing cricket, which the player would enjoy

    im sure you could find sponsors to fund the comp( tourism and airline companies), it might cost a couple of millions of dollars to pay players, and run the comp

    i would make free admission for school kids, and set coaching clinics in remote and aboriginal communities, to help the game grow year after year

  • flickspin on July 10, 2014, 14:00 GMT

    i would like to see 4 top end test venues

    cairns, darwin, alice springs and broome, that way you can host a 4 test series or play zimbabwe and bangladesh in the same year

    australia has great pitch diversity and adding top end venues would only add to this

    cairns would be green, with bounce and tropical humidity which might make the ball swing and deviate off the green pitch

    darwin would be dry because of the dry season but i imagine would still be green

    alice springs would be dry and dusty being in the desert, and would spin , and would help australian cope better in the sub continent

    broome would be dry, because its in a arid enviroment but would have a strong ocean breeze which might help the ball swing

    being in the tropics you get 12 hours of sun every day of the year which makes it easy for player, you might have to start at 9:30-10:00 in alice springs

    it would help australia get used to a great variety of pitches

    i like the idea, this way we get cricket all year round

  • on July 10, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    townsville would be a better venue than either cairns or darwin

  • on July 9, 2014, 22:04 GMT

    Although the Gabba is unavailable in winter why not use Allan Border field? It's a high quality venue and although it has nowhere near the crowd capacity of the Gabba, it would hold more than Cairns/Darwin/Townsville with temporary seating. It would likely sell out for a Bangladesh game with a capacity of around 8000.

  • Jagger on July 9, 2014, 15:54 GMT

    Just so long as the Boxing Day Test is safe from South Africa.

  • on July 9, 2014, 15:27 GMT

    Since when Pakistan were a smaller team? They are above both India and England in tests and that's without home advantage!

  • mensan on July 9, 2014, 12:55 GMT

    It will be a failure of game and spectator interest to play India and England so often.often.

  • shaylin on July 9, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    I think that FTP is a draft. Adding test and ODI series to the northern cities is a great idea. I have been to Cairns, Darwin and Alice Springs and the weather is fine with 0% chance of heavy rain in July and August. Alice Springs impressed me for a city that size. It has a casino, great accommodation options and thriving cultural scene. And not to mention Alice Springs, like Cairns, has a golf course consistently ranked in the top 100 so there are few attractions for all tastes. Should throw in Townsville's Tony Ireland Stadium into the mix and the cities can host test and odis series against the lower ranked teams every 2-3 years during July and August.

  • smudgeon on July 9, 2014, 9:42 GMT

    I'd be interested to see other venues used, and I guess that would be a given during the Australian winter, seeing as AFL will be using the traditional cricket grounds. I like the idea of Alice Springs in the winter. Didn't Townsville or Cairns just host the U-19 world cup? Just on the seemingly never-ending series v India, I guess this is due to the large Indian ex-pat communities in Australia (as well as the income from playing India) means plenty of bums on seat. I don't mind the aggro so much, to be honest: I see it as a sign of a strong rivalry. Long as it doesn't turn into ugliness off the field, of course.

  • dunger.bob on July 9, 2014, 9:07 GMT

    @ Mark Smith: I've never been to the Alice, but I was impressed with the photos I saw of the ground and facilities when they hosted England last season. It looks new and very neat. .. anyway I think your post made a lot of sense and I too would like to see more done to encourage Aboriginal cricket. I come from the bush myself (not that far bush though) and have played with and against plenty of very good Koori guys. The fastest bowler I ever faced was an aboriginal bloke who was miles quicker than anyone else in the district. .. he was gifted but preferred rugby league because it's got a way better image than cricket among his kin and friends. Sad, but very often the case in my area.

  • on July 9, 2014, 8:23 GMT

    Alice Springs could host a winter test match ahead of Darwin. The pitch in Darwin, the drop in, is horrible, covered in weeds now, largely unmaintained. Even when it was last used in 2008 there was only one score in the 3 match series over 200, and Australia batted first twice in those games. Alice Springs' facilities are better, the weather in August is magnificent for cricket and any other outdoor sport. The crowds in Alice for AFL games are very nearly as good as Darwins crowds and it would do a great amount to support CAs vision of cricket for Indigenous Cricketers to add to the Imparja Cup which Alice Springs hosts every year. Get the full Australian team there and it would be an enormous winner!

  • dunger.bob on July 9, 2014, 8:12 GMT

    I read this to mean that India will be playing in at least 1 of the 3 formats every year, but not necessarily Tests. .. even that's a bit of overkill and I agree with what @ xtrafalgarx said about the tension between us. Rubbing shoulders too often might make it even worse.

    My crystal ball sees a few teething problems with the brave new world. I'll be surprised if this works out well.

  • King_George on July 9, 2014, 7:41 GMT

    About time that 7 Tests were scheduled for the Aus summer and Canberra should be given 1 test along the traditional State Capitals. Alice Springs could be a venue to have a minimum 3 Test series during the winter.

    I don't see why we haven't had at least 7 Tests in the Aus summer considering the good weather we generally have and also as we do not tour after Jan/Feb except for South Africa and NZ.

    I think there will be an overdose of India; just remember all the talk about the current scheduling with England (supposedly due to the World Cup) and to labour the point, the Tests, this summer, finish at the same time as they usually do-1st week in Jan.

    There is no guarantee that any Test team will always be strong over such a long period of time and the Ashes will always make money for Cricket Aus (CA). Not every game of cricket makes money for CA and the BBL brings even more than envisaged, so CA should be able to cop a loss every so often for the so-called lesser draw card series

  • on July 9, 2014, 7:34 GMT

    India every season? Too much. Australia doesn't go to India every year. 2-3 year gap between series would be more sensible. If India must come to Australia each season then the ACB & BCCI should agree to have Australia's triangular tournament re-instated and India can be the 3rd team with the other visiting side being the one that is visiting Australia for pre-Xmas test match action.

  • xtrafalgarx on July 9, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    Whaaaaat!? India every season? That's too much. I think every 2-3 years is enough, and IND/AUS matches have become a bit aggressive recently and it could be a recipe for disaster to have too much of them.

    I want to see AUS play NZ more, it's ridiculous to be neighbours yet we hardly ever play.

  • on July 9, 2014, 6:25 GMT

    Instead of milking the 'bankable' teams like India(Who I am already sick of watching) why not try to improve the brand of the smaller teams like Pakistan and West Indies? Use those billions to make all teams and clashes between them marketable.

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  • on July 9, 2014, 6:25 GMT

    Instead of milking the 'bankable' teams like India(Who I am already sick of watching) why not try to improve the brand of the smaller teams like Pakistan and West Indies? Use those billions to make all teams and clashes between them marketable.

  • xtrafalgarx on July 9, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    Whaaaaat!? India every season? That's too much. I think every 2-3 years is enough, and IND/AUS matches have become a bit aggressive recently and it could be a recipe for disaster to have too much of them.

    I want to see AUS play NZ more, it's ridiculous to be neighbours yet we hardly ever play.

  • on July 9, 2014, 7:34 GMT

    India every season? Too much. Australia doesn't go to India every year. 2-3 year gap between series would be more sensible. If India must come to Australia each season then the ACB & BCCI should agree to have Australia's triangular tournament re-instated and India can be the 3rd team with the other visiting side being the one that is visiting Australia for pre-Xmas test match action.

  • King_George on July 9, 2014, 7:41 GMT

    About time that 7 Tests were scheduled for the Aus summer and Canberra should be given 1 test along the traditional State Capitals. Alice Springs could be a venue to have a minimum 3 Test series during the winter.

    I don't see why we haven't had at least 7 Tests in the Aus summer considering the good weather we generally have and also as we do not tour after Jan/Feb except for South Africa and NZ.

    I think there will be an overdose of India; just remember all the talk about the current scheduling with England (supposedly due to the World Cup) and to labour the point, the Tests, this summer, finish at the same time as they usually do-1st week in Jan.

    There is no guarantee that any Test team will always be strong over such a long period of time and the Ashes will always make money for Cricket Aus (CA). Not every game of cricket makes money for CA and the BBL brings even more than envisaged, so CA should be able to cop a loss every so often for the so-called lesser draw card series

  • dunger.bob on July 9, 2014, 8:12 GMT

    I read this to mean that India will be playing in at least 1 of the 3 formats every year, but not necessarily Tests. .. even that's a bit of overkill and I agree with what @ xtrafalgarx said about the tension between us. Rubbing shoulders too often might make it even worse.

    My crystal ball sees a few teething problems with the brave new world. I'll be surprised if this works out well.

  • on July 9, 2014, 8:23 GMT

    Alice Springs could host a winter test match ahead of Darwin. The pitch in Darwin, the drop in, is horrible, covered in weeds now, largely unmaintained. Even when it was last used in 2008 there was only one score in the 3 match series over 200, and Australia batted first twice in those games. Alice Springs' facilities are better, the weather in August is magnificent for cricket and any other outdoor sport. The crowds in Alice for AFL games are very nearly as good as Darwins crowds and it would do a great amount to support CAs vision of cricket for Indigenous Cricketers to add to the Imparja Cup which Alice Springs hosts every year. Get the full Australian team there and it would be an enormous winner!

  • dunger.bob on July 9, 2014, 9:07 GMT

    @ Mark Smith: I've never been to the Alice, but I was impressed with the photos I saw of the ground and facilities when they hosted England last season. It looks new and very neat. .. anyway I think your post made a lot of sense and I too would like to see more done to encourage Aboriginal cricket. I come from the bush myself (not that far bush though) and have played with and against plenty of very good Koori guys. The fastest bowler I ever faced was an aboriginal bloke who was miles quicker than anyone else in the district. .. he was gifted but preferred rugby league because it's got a way better image than cricket among his kin and friends. Sad, but very often the case in my area.

  • smudgeon on July 9, 2014, 9:42 GMT

    I'd be interested to see other venues used, and I guess that would be a given during the Australian winter, seeing as AFL will be using the traditional cricket grounds. I like the idea of Alice Springs in the winter. Didn't Townsville or Cairns just host the U-19 world cup? Just on the seemingly never-ending series v India, I guess this is due to the large Indian ex-pat communities in Australia (as well as the income from playing India) means plenty of bums on seat. I don't mind the aggro so much, to be honest: I see it as a sign of a strong rivalry. Long as it doesn't turn into ugliness off the field, of course.

  • shaylin on July 9, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    I think that FTP is a draft. Adding test and ODI series to the northern cities is a great idea. I have been to Cairns, Darwin and Alice Springs and the weather is fine with 0% chance of heavy rain in July and August. Alice Springs impressed me for a city that size. It has a casino, great accommodation options and thriving cultural scene. And not to mention Alice Springs, like Cairns, has a golf course consistently ranked in the top 100 so there are few attractions for all tastes. Should throw in Townsville's Tony Ireland Stadium into the mix and the cities can host test and odis series against the lower ranked teams every 2-3 years during July and August.

  • mensan on July 9, 2014, 12:55 GMT

    It will be a failure of game and spectator interest to play India and England so often.often.