We'll be a bit vulnerable: Mott wary of 'emerging supergiant'

Australia will need to hit the ground running against India after a six-month break between series, while COVID has forced changes to preseason plans

Matthew Mott concedes a long break between matches could leave Australia "vulnerable" for September’s blockbuster multi-format series against India, but he is adamant managing the physical and mental fatigue of his players is paramount heading into a hectic seven-month period.

Australia’s path to towards the upcoming summer of cricket became somewhat clearer on Friday, when it was confirmed nine out of 10 CA contracted players had withdrawn from the inaugural season of The Hundred.

The proximity of the competition to the start of the international summer on September 19, combined with the need for two weeks of hard hotel quarantine following the tournament final on August 21, was enough to convince every player bar Ellyse Perry to pull out, while Mott, who was set to coach Welsh Fire, will also remain in Australia.

The decision comes with the obvious benefit of extra time at home and outside of bubbles ahead of a long home summer, but does risk leaving the hosts underdone come the first ODI against India, given their most recent series was against New Zealand in April.

The ever-present threat of COVID curveballs has already seen one planned preseason camp in Darwin cancelled, and it remains to be seen whether border restrictions will allow a second scheduled for Brisbane in August to go ahead.

India, meanwhile, are in the middle of a multi-format series against England in the United Kingdom, and five of their top players will stay on for The Hundred before travelling directly to Australia.

"(India) are an emerging supergiant in the game, they have a lot of great players and they will be tough opposition," Mott said on Friday, when it was confirmed he had signed a two-year contract extension.

"They are playing over in England at the moment and, if anything, we'll be a bit vulnerable because we won't have had a lot of cricket. So that's at the forefront of our mind.

"It would be great to get everyone back together face to face, have a really strong camp in Brisbane at the National Cricket Centre with fantastic new facilities out there, and just for some of the (players from) southern states to train outside in good weather.

"So fingers crossed the borders open up and we're free of COVID as much as we can be and we navigate around.

"The states are doing an outstanding job with our players, we're in constant contact, so from that point of view we're being really well-serviced and we're not worried by that, but there's nothing like getting together as a group."

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While there may be some rust come September, the decision to enjoy an extended period at home could pay off in the long term for the No.1 ranked Australians, who are on a world record 24-game winning streak in ODIs.

The India series, featuring three ODIs, three T20Is and a one-off Test, will be followed by the seventh edition of the WBBL, expected to begin a matter of days after the final T20I.

December looms as a short period of respite before the Ashes begin in January, with the players to then head directly to New Zealand for the ODI World Cup, which concludes on April 4.

Domestic 50-over cricket will also be squeezed into the schedule, although the international players’ availability for that competition is likely to be limited.

"It's something at the forefront of our mind, managing the player fatigue," Mott said.

"It’s a different world we live in now, and quarantine ca n have an impact on players and staff.

"We’ll take a holistic view on that, making sure we get it right.

"Talking to the players individually about where they are at, everyone's at a different stage of their life and career so it's definitely not a one-size-fits-all policy.

"We have those ongoing discussions at all times and do as best we can to predict what’s coming up and how players might be flagging at different times."

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Mott’s extended tenure coincides with a two-year period packed with significant series and tournaments.

The ODI World Cup will be followed by the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in mid-2022, and a T20 World Cup in South Africa early in 2023, before an away Ashes campaign later the same year.

"We want to win them all, every team should be striving for that," Mott said.

Tickets for the 2021-22 season will go on sale here on Monday July 5 from 2pm AEST.

2021-22 Women's International Season

Commonwealth Bank Women's Series v India

Sep 19: First ODI, North Sydney Oval (D/N)

Sep 22: Second ODI, Junction Oval

Sep 24: Third ODI, Junction Oval

Sep 30 – Oct 3: Test match, WACA Ground (D/N)

Oct 7: First T20, North Sydney Oval

Oct 9: Second T20, North Sydney Oval

Oct 11: Third T20, North Sydney Oval

Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes v England

Jan 27-30: Test match, Manuka Oval

Feb 4: First T20, North Sydney Oval

Feb 6: Second T20, North Sydney Oval

Feb 10: Third T20, Adelaide Oval

Feb 13: First ODI, Adelaide Oval

Feb 16: Second ODI, Junction Oval

Feb 19: Third ODI, Junction Oval