CA announces full international summer schedule

Cricket Australia unveils a full international fixture for the 2020-21 summer as confidence grows for a bumper summer of cricket

UPDATE: Pandemic forces schedule changes

The COVID19 pandemic has forced Cricket Australia to overhaul the international summer schedule since this original announcement in May. 

The highly anticipated tour by Virat Kohli's India side has now been confirmed, with limited-overs matches before the four-Test series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. 

Visits by Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, the West Indies and New Zealand have all been put on hold, with India to be the only men's international side to tour this summer.

The Zimbabwe series, originally set down for August, was postponed in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic.

A T20 international series with West Indies that was to serve as a T20 World Cup warm-up was postponed when the ICC opted to push back the T20 World Cup – that tournament will now be held in Australia in 2022 instead.

A one-off Test against Afghanistan, scheduled for Perth, was also postponed, while three ODIs against New Zealand in late January have also been pushed back.

The later does allow a bigger window for Australia's white-ball players to feature in the KFC BBL.

Cricket Australia has announced a full international schedule for the 2020-21 summer, underlining the organisation's growing confidence the season will be able to proceed amid loosening COVID-19 restrictions.

The full schedule includes international cricket in every month from August to February, with CA chief executive Kevin Roberts adding it is subject to change amid the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.

"While acknowledging the difficulty in navigating a global pandemic, we are nonetheless encouraged by the progress Australia is making in combating the coronavirus and the positive impact that is having on our ability to host an exciting summer of cricket in 2020-21," Roberts said in a statement.

"We know that circumstances or events beyond our control could mean that the final schedule potentially may look different to the one released today, but we'll be doing everything we can to get as much international cricket in as possible this summer.

"We will communicate any changes to the schedule if or when they are required."

Image Id: 132B6B4AE9BF424F94BF668986E9B56E Image Caption: CA CEO Kevin Roberts is confident a strong summer of cricket is ahead // Getty

The men's schedule announced today confirms details of Tests against India and Afghanistan as well as revealing ODIs against India, New Zealand and Zimbabwe as well as T20 Internationals against India, New Zealand and the West Indies.

Australia's World Cup-winning women's side are scheduled to play T20s against the New Zealand as well as ODIs against both India and the White Ferns as as they look ahead to the one-day World Cup across the Tasman early next year.

"We are working closely with the BCCI to deliver the eagerly anticipated men's and women's tours, and we are looking forward to staging the important series against both the men's and women's New Zealand sides," Roberts said.

"These are in addition to the scheduled men's Test against Afghanistan and a T20 series against West Indies."

The International Cricket Council is set to meet tonight to discuss the fate of the men's T20 World Cup that is scheduled for October and November, while the crown jewel of Australia's summer is undoubtedly the four-Test series against Virat Kohli's Indian side, which Roberts last week rated "a nine out of 10" chance of going ahead.

Australia are scheduled to begin their bid to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy at their Gabba fortress, with the Brisbane ground edging out Western Australia for the coveted fixture.

The Aussies are also scheduled to play Afghanistan in a one-off day-night Test at the Perth Stadium ahead of the Indian series, but the WACA has reacted with anger at missing out on hosting India.

Australia's recent record at the Gabba, which hosts the series-opening Test from December 3, is the longest active unbeaten streak in Test cricket, one that has now reached an impressive 31 matches dating back to 1988, when Australia lost to the great West Indies side of that time.

Captains Allan Border, Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Steve Smith and Tim Paine have all maintained the undefeated run since and the home side has claimed an incredible 24 wins and seven draws in that time.

And a first-ever day-night Border-Gavaskar Test looms for the Adelaide Oval in the series' second Test in what would no doubt be a must-watch event in prime-time from December 11.

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The traditional Boxing Day and New Year's Tests are scheduled to follow.

Australia's inaugural Test against Afghanistan is scheduled to be played under lights at the Perth Stadium from November 21, ahead of the Border-Gavaskar series.

WACA chief executive Christina Matthews today said contractual obligations meant the Test would be played at the 60,000-seat venue – which is also scheduled to host several T20 World Cup matches if that tournament proceeds – rather than the WACA Ground, which is left without any scheduled international cricket in the 2020-21 season.

Following the end of the Indian Test campaign in Sydney, there is a four-day break before the two sides meet in the first match of a three-game ODI series at the Perth Stadium. The series continues with matches at the MCG (January 15) and the SCG (January 17).

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For the all-conquering Aussie women, they are set to play their first matches since their T20 World Cup win with three T20s against New Zealand at North Sydney Oval to be played on September 27 and 29 and October 1.

They will then play three ODIs against the White Ferns on October 5, 7 and 10 in Townsville, Cairns and the Gold Coast respectively in what will be important clashes ahead of the one-day World Cup.

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The ODI squad are also scheduled to take their World Cup preparations up a notch with an important series against India, with games on January 22 at Manuka Oval in Canberra, January 25 at Melbourne's Junction Oval and January 28 at Hobart's Blundstone Arena.

Meg Lanning's team are scheduled to begin their 50-over World Cup campaign on February 7 in Auckland.

The Aussie men are also scheduled to resume the Chappell-Hadlee one-day showdown with New Zealand on Australia Day in Adelaide, with two more ODIs to follow in Canberra and Hobart.

Australia played just one of three matches – in retro kits – against New Zealand in March before the COVID-19 pandemic took full effect.

Australia extend hold over New Zealand with emphatic win

The home men's international summer is then scheduled to end with a one-off T20 against New Zealand on February 2 in Sydney.

Men's international matches that are part of the ICC's Future Tours Programme for this year have also been scheduled for well before the summer heats up.

After a 12-year absence of international cricket in the Top End, a whirlwind three-match ODI series between Australia and Zimbabwe has been scheduled between August 9 and 15. The venue for the first two matches remains to be confirmed – Darwin has been floated given the time of year – while the third has been scheduled for Townsville.

Due to begin in just 73 days, the series may be at risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic, putting a cloud over what would be the first tour of Australia by the Zimbabweans since the 2003-04 summer. CA's statement said: "Final details will be confirmed in the coming weeks after consultation with relevant stakeholders."

The series would also mark the first ever visit by a senior Australian men's team to Townsville's Riverway Stadium.

Image Id: 92C391F1282C4EF3BE1C73D3DB6676BC Image Caption: Townsville has hosted some domestic cricket in recent years // AAP

A total of six T20s have also been scheduled for October ahead of the men's T20 World Cup, which is meant to start on October 18.

While the fate of the World Cup remains in the balance, CA have scheduled matches against the Windies in Townsville, Cairns and the Gold Coast on October 4, 6 and 9 respectively as well as games against India at the Gabba, Manuka Oval and the Adelaide Oval on October 11, 14 and 17.

Roberts said it was not yet clear if crowds would be able to attend matches during the summer or if games will be played in front of empty stadiums, as was Australia's ODI against New Zealand at the SCG in March.

"We will continue to assess whether it is possible for them to attend matches in person, however if it is not deemed possible, we already have a solid blueprint in place," he said.

"We will not rush any decisions however it's crucial for us all to have a blueprint to work from to deliver cricket safely.

"Australian cricket will survive and thrive after the coronavirus pandemic dissipates, just as we have after world wars, depressions, recessions and the many other challenges that have confronted us over the past 140-plus years."


Gillette Men's ODI Series v Zimbabwe

First ODI: August 9, TBC

Second ODI: August 12, TBC

Third ODI: August 15, Riverway Stadium, Townsville

CommBank Women's T20 Series v New Zealand

First T20: September 27, North Sydney Oval

Second T20: September 29, North Sydney Oval

Third T20: October 1, North Sydney Oval

Gillette Men's T20 INTL Series v West Indies

First T20: October 4, Riverway Stadium, Townsville

Second T20: October 6, Cazaly's Stadium, Cairns

Third T20: October 9, Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast

CommBank Women's ODI Series v New Zealand

First ODI: October 5, Riverway Stadium, Townsville

Second ODI: October 7, Cazaly's Stadium, Cairns

Third ODI: October 10, Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast

Gillette Men's T20 INTL Series v India

First T20: October 11, the Gabba, Brisbane

Second T20: October 14, Manuka Oval, Canberra

Third T20: October 17, Adelaide Oval

Men's T20 World Cup

The men's T20 World Cup is scheduled from October 18 to November 15. Full details here

Men's Test v Afghanistan

Only Test: November 21-25, Perth Stadium (day-night)

Men's Test Series v India

First Test: December 3-7, the Gabba, Brisbane

Second Test: December 11-15, Adelaide Oval (day-night)

Third Test: December 26-30, MCG

Fourth Test: January 3-7, SCG

Gillette Men's ODI Series v India

First ODI: January 12, Perth Stadium

Second ODI: January 15, MCG

Third ODI: January 17, SCG

CommBank Women's ODI Series v India

First ODI: January 22, Manuka Oval, Canberra

Second ODI: January 25, Junction Oval, Melbourne

Third ODI: January 28, Blundstone Arena, Hobart

Gillette Men's ODI Series v New Zealand

First ODI: January 26, Adelaide Oval

Second ODI: January 29, Manuka Oval, Canberra

Third ODI: January 31, Blundstone Arena, Hobart

Gillette Men's T20 v New Zealand

Only T20: February 2, SCG