Cricket Australia have unveiled the schedule for the 2016-17 domestic season, with a raft of changes for both the one-day and first-class tournaments, primarily aimed at assisting the Aussie Test side in upcoming series.
Both the pink ball and the Duke ball will feature in the Sheffield Shield, in order to assist the national Test side prepare for their day-night game against Pakistan and future tours of England, respectively.
The season begins with the Matador Cup, with the one day tournament taking place from October 1-23.
Eight of the 23 matches are to be split between Queensland and West Australia.
Allan Border Field in Brisbane will host the tournament opener, between the Queensland Bulls and the Cricket Australia XI. The latter team, which is made up of young, uncontracted players from around the country, endured a baptism of fire in the 2015 tournament, and will be determined not to make up the numbers this year.
Tasmania will also play the Bulls and the CA XI in Brisbane.
Perth welcomes domestic one-day cricket back to the WACA for the first time since 2013, hosting four daytime matches, between West Australia, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland, with all set to be broadcast on the Nine Network.
The four Sydney venues – Bankstown, Hurstville, Drummoyne and North Sydney Oval – will share the remaining 18 matches, with defending champions NSW set to play all their fixtures in Sydney.
The final will yet again be played at North Sydney Oval.
Nine are set to broadcast 13 games across the network, seven in primetime, although it is yet to be confirmed whether the matches will air on their primary channel in HD, or on GEM instead.
The remaining matches are expected to be streamed live on cricket.com.au, with ABC Grandstand likely to provide coverage of the final.
The Sheffield Shield kicks off a few days after the Matador Cup winds up.
The first round, starting on October 25, will be played with the pink ball, with many Australian Test players set to get day-night experience when Queensland play NSW at the Gabba.
A second round of day-night games will be played from December 5-8, before the second day-night Test against Pakistan.
The season will again be split by the Big Bash League, with the Duke ball to be introduced in the second half of the season – and in the final – in order to simulate English conditions.
Fixtures are also set to take place in Wollongong, Alice Springs and Townsville.
The bonus-point system trialled in the past two years will return, but with a revised system to manage the balance between bat and ball.
This summer, 0.1 bonus points will be awarded per wicket in the first 100 overs of an innings, as opposed to last year, which awarded only the fifth, seventh and ninth wickets with 0.5 points each.
Summary of Australia’s 2016-17 domestic schedule
Matador BBQs One-Day Cup
Launches the start of Australia’s summer of cricket
Played from 1-23 October with 13 matches broadcast live on GEM, including three televised day-night matches
CA XI team returns to compete in Matador BBQs One-Day Cup following successful First Class debuts of a number of last year’s CA XI emerging players
To be hosted in its tournament-style format starting in Brisbane and Perth before heading to Sydney and culminating in the final at the picturesque North Sydney Oval
NSW Blues are the reigning Matador BBQs One-Day Cup champions
Sheffield Shield to be played in two blocks around the BBL: 25 October to 8 December 2016, and 1 February to 30 March 2017
Two day-night Shield rounds again scheduled this season: Round 1 starting 25 October (Gabba, WACA and MCG to host), and Round 5 starting 5 December (WACA, Adelaide Oval and Blundstone Arena to host)
Victoria will be aiming for their third straight Shield title this season after going back-to-back last season
Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL)
Season to begin on 13 October with the Grand Final rematch between New South Wales and South Australia, and finishing on 3 December before the WBBL
Will be played in a tournament-style format over four weekends to accommodate any working or studying commitments of the players
Arguably one of the strongest female domestic competitions in the world
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