Australia’s testing stars will have more opportunities to play Big Bash this summer with today’s lineup release confirming a January window where some of the best red ball players in the country will be available.
The Big Bash League has revealed the schedule for the 12th edition of the tournament with a return to its “traditional” start date in mid-December and a full schedule of seven home matches for each of the eight clubs after two seasons heavily impacted by restrictions on borders .
But it was Cricket South Africa’s withdrawal from January’s three-match international series against Australia yesterday that should have the biggest impact on this summer’s KFC BBL, which unleashes the country’s white-ball stars Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa and Mitch Marsh will play a full season at their clubs.
Following the Sydney New Year’s Test from 4th to 8th January, all of Australia’s best cricketers will have the opportunity to play at the Big Bash in a major boost to competition after two years of COVID squad bubbles that have limited their availability.
FULL KFC BBL|12 SCHEDULE
FULL WEBER SCHEDULE WBBL|08
That means someone like Usman Khawaja, who recently signed with the Brisbane Heat after 11 seasons with the Sydney Thunder, and Test, ODI and Adelaide Strikers, wicker hitter Alex Carey, could be available for up to six games to finish the game at home. and off season.
Canberra will launch the BBL|12 when the Manuka Oval hosts the Sydney Thunder and Melbourne Stars on Tuesday 13th December, which is the day after Australia’s test against the West Indies ends at the Adelaide Oval.
Adelaide cricket fans won’t have to wait long for the next home game, with the Strikers hosting the Sydney Sixers the next day in a rematch of last season’s Challenger final.
The Sixers don’t have to wait long to avenge their loss in the BBL|11 grand final either, with the Perth Scorchers opening their season with a highly successful rematch at Optus Stadium on Saturday, December 17, which will be their first home game in 374 days.
The regular season ends on Wednesday, January 25th with a double match between Hobart Hurricanes and Brisbane Heat (University of Tasmania Stadium, 1:40 pm) and Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder at the MCG (7:15 pm).
The Eliminator, Qualifier and Knockout Finals will be held January 27-29, with Challenger and Decider the following weekend, February 2-4 – the fifth time in six years the season will end in the second month. of the year. .
It is understood that league officials have considered a variety of options around the length of the season, but existing commitments and team travel patterns have meant the end result is that BBL|12 is just a day shorter from the start. to the end than the BBL|11.
“The reality is that this is as compressed as the season could be while also (having) a very good flow,” said Alistair Dobson, Cricket Australia’s Big Bash Leagues general manager.
“We seem to have a pretty solid footprint for the competition and there are no day-night test matches in the BBL|12 window.
“We schedule the first week of games to be very strategic around school and summer holidays and still finishing the regular season before the end of January, which is always an important goal for us.
“I like the pace of the big build-up to the finals every weekend with Friday, Saturday, Sunday on Thursday and Saturday. After a few years of this finals system, it’s starting to take shape and be a good ending for the Season.” .”
While the cancellation of the ODI series has opened up an almost three-week window for Australia’s top players to participate, it’s not yet known who will choose to participate.
David Warner, Steve Smith, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head and Cameron Green are the test players currently without BBL deals, with Mitchell Starc and Captain Pat Cummins having already indicated they intend to skip competition this season to prioritize the international cricket with a four test tour to India on the horizon in February-March.
“Every player representing Australia is someone the BBL would love to have playing and given that most of these centrally signed players are already part of the BBL, it’s such an exciting part of the competition,” said Dobson.
“Now that we have clarity on the BBL season and international schedule, this gives us and our clubs the opportunity to have another conversation with these players about whether they can participate and if they have the capacity given this hustle (international) agenda that they have for the next 12 to 18 months.”
Big Bash cricket will be showcased at 17 grounds across the country this summer, including three new venues, with Lavington Sports Ground in Albury, Cazalys Stadium in Cairns and the North Sydney Oval to host home matches for the Thunder, Heat and Sixers respectively. .
Coffs Harbour, Geelong, Metricon Stadium, Manuka Oval, University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston and Junction Oval will once again host BBL games, along with the eight traditional stadiums.
The Melbourne derbies will be held on January 3 at the MCG with the return match at Marvel Stadium on January 14, while the Sydney derbies will be held on January 8 (Sydney Showground Stadium) and January 21 (SCG).
The Strikers will host their traditional New Year’s Eve game at the Adelaide Oval against the Stars, and the Hurricanes will host their annual Christmas Afternoon match at Blundstone Arena against the Renegades.
Seven will show 45 matches from BBL|12 live, including the finals, while all 61 games will be broadcast on Foxtel and Kayo and additional coverage by SEN.
Tickets for all matches will be available via pre-sale on August 16th and available to the public from August 18th.