Australia could be on the road for holiday period


Though it is common for Australia to be on tour in February and March, it would be extremely rare for the side to be overseas as early as mid-January.

Such a scenario would be a big blow for Cricket Australia, which is working hard to reconnect the side to the public after the tumultuous events of the past 12 months.

While nations do not generally make major changes to the FTP,  the latest edition of which was released last June, there is room to tinker with the schedule if competing nations agree. The two boards are in ongoing discussions.

Australia’s five-game ODI series in England last year was originally to be played as part of this year’s tour but was moved forward to give the sides extra match practice heading into the World Cup.

Finding an alternative time to stage the series could be difficult for CA and the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

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India has a busy February and March period in which it will play Tests and limited-overs series against New Zealand followed by ODIs and Twenty20s against South Africa before the window for the Indian Premier League opens in April.

There could be an opening in late October with Australia down to tour India for three Twenty20s.

The BBL stands to be a big winner if the BCCI can move the series as that would enable Australia’s international representatives to take part in as much as the final month of the Twenty20 tournament.

Their availability for the final will depend on whether it clashes with a Test tour of Bangladesh.

One of the criticisms this season was the absence of the nation’s best players for portions of the event.

A change to the BBL finals system was flagged this week at a meeting of the general managers of the eight franchises. The state and territory chief executives are due to meet next week in Melbourne.

Consideration is being given to introducing a double chance for the top two sides on the BBL table.  Currently, the advantage of finishing in the top two is the right to stage a home final but a second chance would provide a lifeline for a side that was to have a bad day after being the best in the regular season.

The Hobart Hurricanes became the sixth team in eight years to lose a semi-final after finishing the regular season on top of the table.

An extra match, however, would put more pressure on an already cramped schedule.

The JLT Cup is set for a change with matches to be played throughout the summer rather than in a block in September and October before the start of the Sheffield Shield.

The Australian Cricketers Association, which has a spot on the fixturing panel, had been agitating for a move away from the carnival format.

CA chief Kevin Roberts, a former NSW batsman, had enjoyed the old school system used through the 1990s and 2000s and has supported change.

Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald

Jon Pierik is a sports writer with The Age, focusing primarily on AFL football, cricket and basketball. He has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.

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