Australian cricketers face their busiest season on record
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Australia is preparing for its busiest international cricket season on record with the men’s national team scheduled to play 22 matches across three formats as well as the Twenty20 World Cup in the southern summer of 2022-23.
Cricket Australia released the schedule Monday, with the men’s team opening their international season with three-game one-day international series against Zimbabwe and against New Zealand in northern Queensland state in late August and September.
The men’s team will then play T20 series against West Indies on the Gold Coast and against England in Brisbane and Canberra before the Oct. 16-Nov. 13 ICC T20 World Cup, which is being held in venues across Australia.
The Australians will wedge a three-game ODI series against England in between the World Cup and a two-match test series against West Indies that starts on Nov. 30 in Perth.
South Africa will visit for a three-test series starting Dec. 17 in Brisbane and a planned three-match ODI series from Jan. 12-17.
Australia usually starts the test series at the Gabba in Brisbane but Cricket Australia is experimenting with changes because the venue will be unavailable at stages during the next decade while it is renovated to host the 2032 Olympics.
“We know the Gabba’s going to be offline for a couple of years,” Cricket Australia’s head of operations and scheduling Peter Roach said. “Taking the chance to look at some different opportunities when we’ve got the chance to us makes a bit of sense.
’We’ve got a very good record in Perth too. Moving away from fortress Gabba is not something that scares us.”
Australia holds the women’s and men’s T20 World Cup titles, with the women’s team beating India in the final at Melbourne in March 2020, before the global shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia beat New Zealand last November to win the men’s title in a tournament that was delayed a year because of the pandemic and shifted to the United Arab Emirates.
Aaron Finch, captain of Australia’s limited-overs squads, said the extra matches would help players getting into form.
“It’s such a busy schedule of cricket,” he said, “There’s a lot of time to be able to build and I suppose get back into the groove of one-day cricket especially — I haven’t played a huge amount of that over the over the last little while.”
Finch is preparing for a series of three T20s and five ODIs in Sri Lanka starting next week ahead of Australia’s two-test series against the hosts.
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