Cricket Australia has condensed this summer’s Sheffield Shield and men’s domestic one-day competition.
The Shield season will now consist of eight rounds followed by a final that is slated to start on April 15.
The one-day cup will run over five rounds, with its final scheduled for April 11.
The postponement of Australia’s Test tour of South Africa means Pat Cummins, who has been appointed captain of NSW’s one-day team, and a stack of stars will be available for their states.
CA consulted with state associations and the players’ union prior to locking in the trimmed-down season.
CA’s general manager of high performance Drew Ginn noted it was a decision made to manage the “physical and mental wellbeing of players, officials and staff” amid a taxing summer of biosecurity bubbles.
“The lived experience of operating through the pandemic has provided us all with new appreciation and perspective for the increased workloads required to deliver elite, national sporting competitions,” Ginn said.
“It is out of this duty of care that, with the input and support of the states and territories associations and the ACA, we have elected to shorten the (Shield and one-day seasons).
“While ensuring both competitions are of a sufficient length to ensure a high-level of competition.”
The Shield, having started in an Adelaide hub last year, will now revert to being a home-and-away competition.
It will resume next Wednesday, when NSW host Victoria at the SCG while Tasmania take on Queensland in Hobart.
CA has also announced revised dates for the domestic women’s one-day competition, which has not been condensed.
The women’s national cricket league (WNCL) is set to conclude on March 27, when the Meg Lanning-captained Australia team will be in New Zealand for a limited-overs tour.
Brendan Drew, the Australian Cricketers’ Association’s manager of player relations, highlighted that the revised fixtures take “into account a level of fatigue for our male players following the BBL”.
“The ACA commends Cricket Australia and the states for their flexibility in delivering a domestic schedule in evolving and challenging circumstances,” Drew said.