BBL returns to old ways in school-holiday window

by Pelican Press
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BBL returns to old ways in school-holiday window

Australia’s Test stars will should be available for the final two weeks of the Big Bash League after officials unveiled a back-to-the-future style schedule for 2024-25.

Cricket Australia have confirmed BBL fixtures for this summer, with almost the entire competition in the school-holiday window for the first time in eight years.

The lack of a day-night or Perth Test in the BBL period also allows for an uninterrupted run of prime-time games, in a return to the league’s golden days.

“We know the strength of the BBL is you can turn it on every night and you’re going to see great cricket and something fun to watch,” BBL boss Alistair Dobson said on Friday’s fixture release.

“We’ve known if we can get to this season with a bit of momentum it does open up for us.

“Every night is a blockbuster because it is uninterrupted, big games in the best slots.”

Perth will kick off the season on December 15 when they host the Melbourne Stars, with the final on January 27.

Test players should theoretically become available from around January 9, with the international summer to finish with the SCG Test.

Australia’s next cricket is scheduled for a two-Test series of Sri Lanka in late January or early February, with dates yet to be confirmed.

That is likely to mean Australia’s batters will be available for the end of the regular season.

There remains some small hope the frontline quicks could potentially feature in a small number of games, depending how they recover from the five-Test series against India.

Mitchell Starc has not played in the BBL since 2014-15 and Pat Cummins since 2019-20, but both featured in this year’s IPL.

One challenge for the BBL remains overseas leagues.

There had been a thought the ILT20 in the UAE, which pulls in up to 54 overseas players, would be moved away from the BBL window.

But it has instead been brought forward by a week this summer, starting on January 10 and creating a further clash with the Big Bash.

The SA20 in South Africa also remains in the same window, creating the potential for overseas players to leave the BBL midway through.

Cricket Australia have responded by introducing multi-year deals for overseas players, on the proviso they remain in Australia for the duration of the BBL season.

Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Colin Munro and Chris Jordan have so far taken up the option, with each club limited to one multi-year deal for an overseas player.

“It reinforces what we hoped and knew, which was that under the right circumstances the BBL is still a competition players want to come and play in,” Dobson said.

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