Cricket Australia scramble to reschedule Sheffield matches ahead of Ashes series
The Sheffield Shield remains in a state of flux, as Cricket Australia (CA) tries to ensure the stars and prospects of the Test have enough time in red ball cricket ahead of the Men’s Ashes.
- Cricket Australia had hoped to play six rounds of the Shield before the Ashes series
- Only one game has been played so far this season
- The first Ashes Test is due to start in Brisbane on December 8
CA had originally scheduled six rounds from Sheffield Shield before the first Ashes Test, which is set to begin in Brisbane on December 8.
Men’s national coach Justin Langer and other influential figures were desperate for a stack of red ball cricket in the coming months, especially as Australia have not played a test since losing to India in Gabba in January.
But state border closures have forced CA to scramble to reschedule the fixtures – especially for NSW and Victoria – and, so far, a draw between Western Australia and South Australia is the only game ended.
The COVID-19 outbreak in Queensland – which prompted Tasmania to essentially forgo its clash with the Shield in Brisbane just as the coin was about to launch on Tuesday – further complicated matters.
Players in Sydney and Melbourne waited for updates on their situation throughout September, hoping to get the nod to use another state as a gateway to kickstart their Shield campaigns.
It is hoped that South Australia will come to CA’s rescue, but this plan has not yet been approved.
“We hope to go into quarantine, not this weekend but the following weekend,” Victoria coach Chris Rogers told SEN.
“Probably about four weeks from now [until they play].
“We were planning to start the season on September 11th, so we had the guys ready for that step.
“Since then, we’ve been almost in a waiting situation.”
The players were ready to quarantine themselves in the Northern Territory, but that plan did not materialize.
“It’s a bit of a roller coaster… we’ve had a few false starts.
“Emotionally it’s a little up and down. You have times when you think it’s all set and then the carpet is drawn. [from underneath you].
“You can just feel the guys are a bit bored, but are frustrated [that] they can’t play real matches. “
It is believed that CA and the players were keen to avoid a repeat of last year’s Shield hub, when Adelaide hosted all six State teams at the start of the season.
Yet NSW and Victoria – whose female counterparts are already quarantined at a Tasmanian hotel ahead of the Women’s Big Bash League – both face long stays away from home.
Loading form …