Sydney: Australia’s Ashes campaign next year is in danger being compromised by the Big Bash League due to the crowded nature of their schedule, which suggests there will be no Sheffield Shield cricket played after the first Test against England at the Gabba from late November.
This would mean any replacement required in the Test team because of form or injury for the last four Tests will be playing Twenty20 and not-first class cricket.
If the replacement is required later in the series for the showpiece Boxing Day and New Year Tests in Melbourne and Sydney, they will not have played red ball cricket for a month or more.
To counter this dearth of first-class matches Cricket Australia’s high performance manager Pat Howard is already putting contingency plans in place for next summer’s Ashes.
“We’re well and truly across that a year out,” News.com.au quoted Howard, as saying.
The same is happening this summer leading into the Test series against Sri Lanka. Shield cricket’s hiatus began at the end of last month and will not resume until well after the remaining three Tests this summer
“A reasonable amount of planning goes into making sure players on the fringe (of the Test team) are aware of their situation and we work with the states or the players’ BBL (Big Bash League) team to incorporate red ball cricket into their training programs,” Howard said.
“It’s a very targeted program. The schedule is put in front of you and you have to put plans in place to deal with the schedule,” he added.
“We’ve got some really interesting challenges over the next year or so and I think if you tried to play the same players in all games it would be a really difficult scenario for the return Ashes next year,” he said.