Cricket Australia has announced the tentative scheduled for the 10th edition of the Big Bash League. This summer’s BBL will start earlier than ever before, feature more matches in prime-time slots and a regular season will wrap up by Australia Day.
The domestic Twenty20 competition will begin on December 3, the same day when the first Test between Australia and India is slated to start in Brisbane. The means the crème de la crème of Australian cricket will not be available for the initial rounds of the BBL.
The first BBL night match will start at the Adelaide Oval just as play ends in the first Test in Brisbane.
The Women’s Big Bash League, meanwhile, will kick off on the weekend of October 17 and 18 at Allan Border Field in Brisbane and Perth. Hobart and Adelaide will host matches during the second weekend of the tournament and the regular season is due to end in Melbourne on November 22.
The 10th season of the BBL is set to end on February 6.
This all is, however, subject to the COVID-19 pandemic scenario in the country. Cricket Australia has also put in place some contingency plans.
“While we know that the challenging, fast-changing coronavirus pandemic could ultimately mean revisions to the schedule, there is nonetheless a lot to like about the way both competitions are shaping up,” BBL head Alistair Dobson said.
Meanwhile, the BBL boss Alistair Dobson has also conceded that Australia’s best male players may have limited involvement in the competition this summer.
Bringing in overseas players too looms as a more difficult task than ever given global uncertainty over travel and the likelihood of quarantine periods continuing to be enforced for international arrivals.
“The ability for clubs to bring in replacement overseas players is going to be more challenging on a short-term basis than it has in the past,” Dobson told reporters via Zoom conference.
“List management strategies for clubs are going to have be in place ahead of time. We’re confident we’ll be able to get the players in that we think are going to be important to the league. Whether they are here for the whole tournament or parts of it, time will tell.”
The new season will see an extra 11 games scheduled to begin in prime-time slots compared to last summer, bringing the total to 48 – the bulk of them starting at 7.15pm – with 40 regular season games plus all finals available on free-to-air broadcaster Seven.
The last major international event staged in Australia before the coronavirus lockdown was the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup final in March, when Australia beat India in front of more than 86,000 spectators in Melbourne.