CRICKET Australia has confirmed the Sheffield Shield will resume next week, while several Big Bash matches have been moved to accommodate the new-look Test schedule this summer.
On Saturday CA announced three out of the four Tests against India will be moved from their original dates in order to give Australia’s players an appropriate amount of time to grieve following the tragic death of Phillip Hughes last week.
The series was due to begin on Thursday, but with Hughes’ funeral held in Macksville a day earlier, the decision was made to begin the series in Adelaide next Tuesday, with the Brisbane Test moved until the following week. Meanwhile, the traditional New Year’s Test in Sydney was pushed back three days to avoid player burnout.
Now the impact of those changes has been felt on the domestic front.
A full round of Sheffield Shield matches were due to begin on Friday, but will now kick off on the same day the first Test begins in Adelaide.
In announcing the scheduling change, CA said it “encourages all players who are selected to play for their States to play, however will respect the wishes of those players who decide, for grieving or compassionate reasons, not to play.”
General manager of team performance, Pat Howard, said the players’ welfare was the primary consideration in implementing the changes.
“We could not ask or expect players to be able to take the field the day after farewelling Phillip. This is a difficult time and the players’ wellbeing is our priority, so we are taking it day-by-day.
“Grief is very personal and we want to give our players every opportunity to feel ready to take the field, though ultimately we recognise that returning to play is a significant milestone in assisting all players to move forward.”
CA also confirmed four Big Bash fixtures have been altered, primarily due to the Sydney Test clashing with the local derby between the Sixers and Thunder.
That match has been pushed back from January 9 until the 22nd, while the Thunder’s clash against Hobart Hurricanes has been moved forward to the 9th.
Two other fixtures have been affected, with the Hurricanes v Melbourne Renegades match moved from January 15 to January 7, and the Hurricanes’ game against Brisbane Heat shifted from January 22 to a week earlier.
All matches remain at the same venues.
RESCHEDULED BIG BASH MATCHES
— Sydney Thunder v Hobart Hurricanes at Spotless Stadium (moved from January 7 to January 9)
— Sydney Sixers v Sydney Thunder at SCG (moved from January 9 to January 22)
— Hobart Hurricanes v Melbourne Renegades at Blundstone Arena (moved from January 15 to January 7)
— Brisbane Heat v Hobart Hurricanes at the Gabba (moved from January 22 to January 15)