Australia news December 4, 2014

Sheffield Shield delayed, BBL matches rescheduled

ESPNcricinfo staff

Four Big Bash League matches have been rescheduled as a result of the new dates for the Sydney Test, while Cricket Australia has also confirmed that the next round of Sheffield Shield matches will be delayed by four days. The funeral for Phillip Hughes in Macksville on Wednesday came two days before the scheduled round of Shield games was to start, but those matches have now been pushed back to begin on December 9.

In a statement, Cricket Australia said it encouraged all players selected by their states to play, "however will respect the wishes of those players who decide, for grieving or compassionate reasons, not to play". Pat Howard, the executive general manager of team performance with Cricket Austaralia, said it was only natural the round should be delayed.

"We could not ask or expect players to be able to take the field the day after farewelling Phillip," Howard said. "This is a difficult time and the players' wellbeing is our priority, so we are taking it day-by-day.

"Grief is very personal and we want to give our players every opportunity to feel ready to take the field, though ultimately we recognise that returning to play is a significant milestone in assisting all players to move forward. We are continuing to work with the Australian Cricketers' Association to ensure all players and match officials are receiving ongoing counselling and support."

There has also been a necessary reworking of the BBL schedule due to the three-day delay to the Sydney Test, which will now start on January 6. The BBL window remains unchanged but Cricket Australia's executive general manager of operations, Mike McKenna, said four matches had been rescheduled.

"The Sydney Sixers v Sydney Thunder match due to be played at the SCG on January 9 fell during the revised SCG Test dates, and accordingly has been moved to 22nd January," McKenna said. "With 35 matches scheduled in 39 days, plus taking into account the Carlton-Mid Series in January, it was not possible to reschedule the Sydney Smash without impacting other matches, hence the need to reschedule three other BBL games."

The other affected matches are: Sydney Thunder vs Hobart Hurricanes at Sydney's Showground Stadium, which has moved from January 7 to January 9; Hobart Hurricanes vs Melbourne Renegades at Bellerive Oval, which has changed from January 15 to January 7; and Brisbane Heat vs Hobart Hurricanes at the Gabba, which has switched from January 22 to January 15.

Cricket Australia said pre-purchased tickets would be honoured for the revised BBL dates, and refunds would also be available.