Australia’s busy home international season to start in late August

Australia’s home international season will begin in late August and the men’s team faces one of their busiest summers as the catch-up of Covid-impacted series continues in the final months of the current future tours programme.

The men’s side will face Zimbabwe (ODIs), New Zealand (ODIs), West Indies (T20Is and Tests), England (T20Is and ODIs) and South Africa (Tests and ODIs) in the 2022-23 campaign – in addition to the men’s T20 World Cup – with the first two of those series taking place in Townsville and Cairns, starting on August 28, as international cricket returns to the Top End. The last time Australia’s men played in the region was 2008 although Townsville has since hosted internationals involving Papua New Guinea.

The women’s team will host Pakistan for ODIs and T20Is in January before the T20 World Cup in South Africa while they are also set to travel to India for five T20Is before Christmas.

The three men’s ODIs against South Africa, set to take place after the Test series in mid-January, remain to be confirmed after a request from CSA to have them moved but no alternative window has yet been found. It is understood CSA had hoped to play them before the Test series to enable players to return home in time for the recently-announced domestic T20 league.

The T20Is against West Indies and two bilateral series against England will be squeezed in either side of the men’s T20 World Cup with the T20Is acting as warm-ups. Australia will also make a whistle-stop tour to India in mid-September for three T20Is. Originally, West Indies were slated for three T20Is but one match has been dropped due to the tight window with the CPL finishing in late September and them being involved in the qualifying phase of the World Cup.

The five men’s Tests of the summer will take place across barely six weeks with Perth (November 30-December 4) hosting the opening match against West Indies followed by a day-night game in Adelaide (December 8-12). South Africa will play at the Gabba (December 17-21), MCG (Boxing Day) and SCG (January 4-8) before the ODI series wraps up the men’s home schedule ahead of a tour to India next February and March.

That order of Tests means a move away from the tradition of the Gabba being the opening match (although that has also happened a number of times in recent years) but it means both West Indies fixtures – played before the holiday period – will have a greater primetime slot on Australia’s east coast while CA are also looking ahead to when the Gabba is not available during its redevelopment for the 2032 Olympics.

After last season featured two women’s Tests against India and England, there are none on the calendar for the upcoming summer but they remain central to Cricket Australia’s ambitions. The two limited-overs series against Pakistan will take place from January 16-29 across Allan Border Field, North Sydney Oval and Manuka Oval with the teams then heading to South Africa for the T20 World Cup where Australia will defend their title.

Unlike recent seasons, no women’s internationals have been scheduled for September with an eye on player workload heading into the World Cup while March has also been left vacant in case a Women’s IPL gets off the ground.

There are some tight turnarounds in the men’s schedule with the first ODI against England in Adelaide taking place just four days after the T20 World Cup final on November 13, should either side make it that far, and there is a maximum of four days between Tests once that format begins on November 30.

The ODIs against Zimbabwe and New Zealand in northern Queensland – both series which have been postponed due to Covid – are unlikely to feature a full-strength Australia side with a handful of players having deals in the Hundred which runs until early September while some may also be rested.

Having not played any ODIs in the previous home season the men’s team have 12 scheduled in 2022-23. The three matches against South Africa are set to start earlier in the day than would be traditional to free up the evening for BBL matches. They could be the last home ODIs played in January as CA looks to create a window in the calendar for the BBL so that Australia players can be more involved.

The domestic schedules will be announced in the coming months. The WBBL will take place from mid-October to late November with the BBL expected to start after the West Indies Test series and it may run into early February.

With the men’s T20 World Cup also in October and November, plus Sheffield Shield, Marsh Cup and WNCL matches to slot in, it has meant a challenging jigsaw puzzle to find suitable venues for all the formats. The expanded WNCL – now a full home-and-away tournament – is likely to start in late September ahead of the WBBL.

Both West Indies and South Africa are expected to have warm-up matches ahead of their respective Test series.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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