Australia Day, January 26, will be devoid of an international fixture for the first time in 26 years as part of the schedule unveiled by Cricket Australia on Tuesday.
Not since Allan Border’s final season in 1994, when the concluding final of the World Series Cup on January 25 was followed by the start of a Test against South Africa in Adelaide on January 28, has the national day passed by without a major match, either a Test generally played at Adelaide Oval or a limited-overs game, occasionally elsewhere.
The slot is expected to be filled by the Big Bash League, which will take up a great deal of the slack left by a major gap in Australian men’s team fixtures between the end of the New Zealand Test series in early January and their return for an ODI bout in late March.
CA had originally been under the impression that they would be playing a game on January 26 in India, also known as Republic Day, as part of a bilateral tour. However, the BCCI has pushed the series forward to games on January 12, 15 and 17, leaving the Australian team to return in time for BBL commitments but without any international opponent.
“Scheduling international cricket is challenging in that nine of the ten major cricketing countries have seasons similar to ours, so working with them to find space in the calendar to fulfil our obligations to the ICC Future Tours Program is a juggling act,” CA head of cricket operations Peter Roach said.
“The long-range Future Tours Program had three separate limited-overs series scheduled between India, New Zealand and Australia. When the countries started working through the detail, it was clear that there was not enough space for each series at the proposed times.
“Cricket Australia took the position that while January was our preference for these ODI matches, there are times we need to honour our commitments to work in the greater context of international cricket scheduling. We evaluated different options for an alternative and saw the most value in the March opportunity to extend our window in the traditional cricket season.
The other assignment for Australia between January and March is an ODI series in South Africa, while a Test tour of Bangladesh as part of the World Test Championship, originally scheduled for February, has been shifted to June.
Sri Lanka, Pakistan and New Zealand will all be touring Australia during the men’s international program, while the women’s team will host Sri Lanka, India and England ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia in February and March.
“The Pakistan and New Zealand Tests will be the first matches played in Australia for ICC Test Championship points. The ICC Test Championship will give Test cricket greater context and make every match count with nine countries participating for the 2019-2021 title,” Roach said.
“The ODI series against New Zealand will also be significant as the last set of ODIs played at home before the ODI League begins in 2020. This league will serve as the part of the qualification process for the 2023 World Cup.
“We’re excited about the amount of elite international cricket on home soil in 209-2020, with the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup and the final on March 8 providing an excellent platform to lead into the ODI series which commences on March 13.”
(All times local)
Women’s T20s v Sri Lanka
September 29 North Sydney Oval, 2.30pm
September 30 North Sydney Oval, 7pm
October 2 North Sydney Oval, 2pm
Women’s ODIs v Sri Lanka
October 5 Allan Border Field (Brisbane), 10am
October 7 Allan Border Field, 10am
October 9 Allan Border Field, 10am
Men’s T20s v Sri Lanka
October 27 Adelaide Oval, 2pm
October 30 Gabba, 6.10pm
November 1 MCG, 7.10pm
Men’s T20s v Pakistan
November 3 SCG, 2.30pm
November 5 Manuka Oval, 7.10pm
November 8 Perth Stadium, 4.30pm
Men’s Test series v Pakistan
November 21-25 Gabba, 10am
November 29-December 3 Adelaide Oval, 2pm (D/N)
Men’s Test series v New Zealand
December 12-16 Perth Stadium, 1pm (D/N)
December 26-30 MCG, 10.30am
January 3-7 SCG, 10.30am
Women’s T20 tri-series
January 31 India v England, Manuka Oval, 2.10pm
February 1 Australia v England, Manuka Oval, 2.10pm
February 2 Australia v India, Manuka Oval, 2.10pm
February 7 India v England, Junction Oval (Melbourne), 2.10pm
February 8 Australia v India, Junction Oval, 2.10pm
February 9 Australia v England, Junction Oval, 2.10pm
February 12 Tri-series Final, Junction Oval, 1.40pm
Women’s T20 World Cup
February 21-March 8 Full fixtures here
Men’s ODIs v New Zealand
March 13 SCG, 2.30pm (D/N)
March 15 SCG, 10.30am
March 20 Blundstone Arena (Hobart), 2.30pm (D/N)