Australia’s busy home season starts at the end of August

Australia’s international home season kicks off at the end of August and the men’s team faces one of their busiest summers as the catch-up of Covid-hit series continues into the final months of the current future tour schedule.

The men’s side will face Zimbabwe (ODIs), New Zealand (ODIs), West Indies (T20Is and Tests), England (T20Is and ODIs) and South Africa (Tests and ODIs) in the 2022-23 campaign – alongside the men’s T20 World Cup – the first two of those series take place in Townsville and Cairns, starting on August 28, when international cricket returns to the Top End. The last time Australia’s men played in the region was 2008 although Townsville has since hosted internationals involving Papua New Guinea.

The women’s team will receive Pakistan for ODIs and T20Is for the T20 World Cup in South Africa in January, while they will also travel to India for Christmas for five T20Is.

The ODIs of the three men against South Africa, which will take place after the test series in mid-January, have yet to be confirmed following a request from CSA to move them, but no alternative window has yet been identified. Obviously, CSA had hoped to play them before the Test series so players could return home in time for the recently announced domestic T20 competition.

“Our strong intention is to play them as planned and we are working with South Africa on that,” said Peter Roach, Cricket Australia’s head of operations and planning. “This has been a very busy cricket season and it will be difficult to find a spot, but we are in talks with South Africa and hope to finalize that in the coming weeks.”

The T20Is against the West Indies and two bilateral series against England will be squeezed on either side of the Men’s T20 World Cup, with the T20Is serving as a warm-up. Australia will also make a breeze to India in mid-September for three T20Is. Originally the West Indies were scheduled to host three T20Is but one match has been canceled due to the tight window with the CPL ending at the end of September and they being involved in the World Cup qualifying stage.

The men’s five Summer Tests will take place in just six weeks, with Perth (November 30 – December 4) hosting the opening game against the West Indies, followed by a day-night game in Adelaide (December 8-12). South Africa will play at the Gabba (December 17-21), MCG (Boxing Day) and SCG (January 4-8) before the ODI series wraps up the men’s home schedule ahead of a tour to India in February and March.

That order of tests marks a shift from the tradition of the Gabba being the opening game (although that has happened a number of times in recent years as well), but it allows both West Indian games – played before the holiday season – to have a larger prime-time slot in the Australian East Coast television market, while CA also looks ahead to when the Gabba won’t be available during its redevelopment for the 2032 Olympics.

“We also know that the Gabbas will be offline for a few years,” Roach said. “Getting the chance to look at some different opportunities when we get the chance makes a bit of sense. We also have a very good track record in Perth. Leaving Fort Gabba is not something that scares us.”

After two women’s tests against India and England last season, none are on the calendar for next summer, but they remain central to Cricket Australia’s ambitions. The two limited-overs series against Pakistan will take place from January 16-29 at Allan Border Field, North Sydney Oval and Manuka Oval before the teams head to South Africa for the T20 World Cup, where Australia will defend their title.

Unlike past seasons, no women’s internationals are scheduled for September in view of the workload of players heading to the World Cup, while March has also been left vacant in case a Women’s IPL gets off the ground.

There have been some tight turns in the men’s schedule, with the first ODI against England in Adelaide taking place just four days after the T20 World Cup Final on November 13, if both sides make it that far, and there’s a four-way cap. days between tests once that format kicks off on November 30.

The ODIs against Zimbabwe and New Zealand in northern Queensland – both series postponed due to Covid – are unlikely to have a strong Australian side with a handful of players with deals in the Hundred running through early September, with some possibly also rest assured.

As the men’s team did not play any ODIs in the previous home season, 12 are scheduled for 2022-23. The three games against South Africa will start earlier in the day than usual to clear the night for BBL games. It could be the last home ODIs to be played in January as CA wants to create a window in the calendar for the BBL so Australian players can be more involved.

Domestic timetables will be announced in the coming months. The WBBL will take place from mid-October to the end of November and the BBL is expected to start after the West Indies Test series and could last until early February.

With the Men’s T20 World Cup also in October and November, plus Sheffield Shield, Marsh Cup and WNCL matches to play in, it has been a challenging puzzle to find suitable venues for all sizes. The expanded WNCL — now a full home-and-away tournament — is likely to begin in late September, before the WBBL.

Both the West Indies and South Africa are expected to have warm-up matches ahead of their respective Test series.

Andrew McGlashan is deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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