Sunday , July 3 2022

Australia’s men set for busiest summer of cricket with 27 fixtures planned | Australia cricket team

Two years of Covid postponements and a Twenty20 World Cup have handed Australia’s cricketers the busiest summer in the country’s history. Cricket Australia confirmed a cluttered schedule on Monday, with 27 men’s fixtures beginning with the first Top End tour since 2008 in August and September.

West Indies and South Africa will visit for Test series, while the former will join New Zealand and Zimbabwe in playing catch-up white ball series before the home T20 World Cup that was originally slated for 2020.

Early-season cricket will be played in in Townsville and Cairns against Zimbabwe and New Zealand respectively, before Australia leave for a three-match Twenty20 series in India.

West Indies and England then play white-ball series either side of the October-November Twenty20 World Cup, with England to be coached by Australia’s former women’s mentor Matthew Mott.

Notably, the Test summer begins in Perth on 30 November against West Indies, before a pink-ball Test in Adelaide from 8 December. Brisbane hosts the first Test against South Africa on 17 December, before Melbourne and Sydney hold the traditional Boxing Day and New Years’ Tests.

The schedule makes for a shift away from the Gabba hosting the first Test of the summer, but means the first two Tests are beamed into the east coast in evening prime-time before the Christmas period begins.

“We are hosting a record six touring nations to Australia this season, in addition to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup,” CA CEO Nick Hockley said. “We are delighted that Test cricket is coming back to Perth Stadium for the first Test of the summer versus the West Indies, after almost three years without international cricket.

“And we look forward to hosting South Africa over Boxing Day and New Year for the first time since 2008.”

The figure of 27 matches for the men does not include any T20 World Cup warm-up fixtures, or finals games if the defending champions qualify. The summer therefore easily tops the previous record of 24 matches in 2014-15, which also included a home World Cup in the one-day format.

It also comes as part of an extremely busy 12 months for the team, with a four-Test series in India in February and March, an away Ashes next winter, a tour of South Africa and a one-day World Cup in October and November.

The one sticking point of Australia’s home summer remains a three-match one-day series against South Africa between 12 and 17 January, at a time CA had hoped to have all white-ball stars playing Big Bash.

South Africa have also requested to move the series, but no other window can be found and all ICC ODI Super League fixtures must be completed before April. Instead, CA have scheduled the games to start earlier to allow BBL matches to follow at night.

Meanwhile, Australia’s women play three ODIs and T20s against Pakistan in January, with no Test on the agenda. They will also tour India for five T20s in December, ahead of the short-form World Cup in South Africa in February.

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