The Australian Test side could be playing deep into January, as part of a range of contingencies being explored by Cricket Australia for next season.

The Australian Test side could be playing deep into January, as part of a range of contingencies being explored by Cricket Australia for next season.

One option discussed by the Australian Cricket Council was the rescheduling of the Twenty20 and one-day internationals against India to late November/early December.
This would then push the start of the Test season to mid-December and five-day cricket played well into January, instead of the traditional finale in Sydney in the first week of the New Year.
The Australian Test side, captained by Tim Paine, could be playing well into January under one scenario.Credit:AAP
The catalyst for this change is the Indian board’s desire to reduce the length of time its players spend in quarantine and for its white-ball squad return home earlier. Their request is being seen as reasonable and not a flexing of muscle by the game’s most powerful nation.
The Test against Afghanistan would still remain as the first of the season but pushed back from its current slot, November 21-25. This would present quarantine issues for some of Australia’s biggest stars with the postponed Indian Premier League not due to finish until November 10.
There have been whispers within Australian cricket the match will be moved from Perth to Hobart, which has been starved of men’s internationals, but no decision has been reached.
The T20s against India were initially to be played in October as a warm-up for the T20 World Cup but that tournament has been postponed to 2022 while the ODIs are scheduled for January after the Border-Gavaskar series.
The future of the Boxing Day Test remains unclear but Hockley said last week it was “very premature” to discuss moving the marquee match from the MCG, though he acknowledged the likelihood of it remaining there hinged on crowds being able to attend.
If the start of the Test season was to be moved to mid-December then it’s likely fans around the country will be able to see Tim Paine’s men in action deep into January, a period which in the past two decades has been reserved for the limited-overs versions.
The meeting of the ACC, a body set up after the damning review into the game in 2018, resolved to play as much cricket as possible despite a push by some within Jolimont to reduce the domestic season.
The council, consisting of the chairs of the state and territory associations, Earl Eddings as CA chairman and Greg Dyer as players boss, believes cost should not be the determining factor and agreed flexibility and compromise was needed in the fixture.
The Marsh Cup, however, could still be trimmed, with priority given to playing a full season of the time-honoured Sheffield Shield.
One option put forward to the council was to play the domestic one-day tournament in Darwin, which would require the domestic season be stretched out to June.
CA’s cricket operations boss Peter Roach may well have the most difficult job at the organisation of pulling together the schedule a job likened to playing chess in three dimensions.
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