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Shield, One-Day Cup schedule revealed

The Australian summer of cricket will launch on September 27, while three Shield rounds are scheduled before the Ashes

Full JLT Sheffield Shield schedule | Full JLT One-Day Cup schedule

Australia's Test stars will have three rounds of the Sheffield Shield before the first Magellan Ashes Test, with the opening fixture to be played under lights.

And Hobart will host the domestic one-day finals for the first time as the tournament-style competition spreads its wings. 

Cricket Australia today revealed a hectic summer of men's domestic cricket fixtures, with the summer officially beginning in the last week of September with the opening match of the one-day tournament.

Insurance brokers Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) are now the naming-rights partners for the 50-over tournament and the Sheffield Shield. The JLT One-Day Cup begins in Brisbane on September 27 with early rounds also at the WACA before moving to Sydney, while the finals will be played at Hobart's Blundstone Arena on October 19 and 21.

The JLT Cup will be broadcast live and free exclusively by cricket.com.au via improved streaming on web and the CA Live app. 

The JLT Sheffield Shield will again be streamed live and free, with the first round to be played from October 26 under lights at the WACA, the Gabba and the Adelaide Oval, where the West End Redbacks will host a NSW Blues side brimming with Australia Test players. 

Further Shield rounds will be played from November 4 and November 13 ahead of the first Magellan Ashes Test at the Gabba from November 23.

Meanwhile, cricket fans in Victoria will receive a boost with the return of Junction Oval as a first-class venue this summer. The Victorian Bushrangers have gone without a secondary home venue behind the MCG during their Shield three-peat, but the St. Kilda venue is set to host NSW Blues from March 6.

Junction Oval will host first-class cricket again this summer // Getty
Junction Oval will host first-class cricket again this summer // Getty

Cricket Australia's Head of Cricket Operations Peter Roach said the domestic schedule had been tailored to benefit the international team.

“The way the schedule has been structured reinforces the significant role our domestic competitions play in helping players prepare for cricket at international level," Roach said in a statement.

"From the high level of competition in the Domestic One-Day Cup to start the summer, to day-night rounds in the Sheffield Shield, we want our players to have the skills to succeed not just domestically but at the highest level against international opponents.

“We know we have a strong structure to our domestic competitions.  They identify and elevate players who are performing, so that we can continue to strive for success on the international stage and ensure our players are provided with the very best opportunities to perform to their ability at home and away."

The Shield competition will continue with the bonus-point scoring system used for the previous two summers, and will again use the Dukes ball after the mid-summer break for the KFC BBL after a successful introduction last season.

“Our analysis from the season just gone showed that the ball slightly favoured the bowlers over the batsman when compared to the red Kookaburra ball," Roach said.

"Bowlers took wickets at 34.6 runs/wicket with the red Kookaburra ball and 28.9 runs/wicket with the Dukes ball.

"In three red-ball Kookaburra rounds there were 19 centuries scored against 18 centuries in five rounds with the Dukes.

The Dukes ball will be used again in Shield cricket this summer // Getty
The Dukes ball will be used again in Shield cricket this summer // Getty

"On average, there were 93 wickets taken per round (of three matches) with the Dukes ball and 90 wickets with the red Kookaburra."

The JLT Cup will again feature a CA XI squad of development players, with the concept proving to be an effective breeding ground for state and international players.

“After just two years, Australian cricket is starting to see significant benefits from exposing Australia’s emerging talent at a higher level through the CA XI," said Roach.

"In 2015-16, three batsmen passed 50, and last season we saw Ryan Gibson score a century and two half-centuries alone, with four other players also passing 50, two on multiple occasions. 

"Gibson was the seventh-highest run scorer for the competition, while spinner Arjun Nair was the equal-fifth leading wicket-taker.

First-year CA XI players Hilton Cartwright and Mitchell Swepson are now with Australia's Test squad in Bangladesh and Cartwright earned his Baggy Green in Sydney last summer.

"Twelve players who have represented the CA XI over the two years have since played Sheffield Shield cricket, while five players who represented the CA XI in the first year of the trial went on to play (one-day cricket) for their state side."

Full JLT Sheffield Shield schedule | Full JLT One-Day Cup schedule