Men's Ashes 2021-22
Australia's Ashes selection shootout locked in
Cricket Australia formally postpones the Test match against Afghanistan in Hobart and confirms details of practice games for England and Australia ahead of the Ashes
5 November 2021, 02:15 PM AEST
Australia and England will hone their respective Ashes preparations with a pair of three-day intra-squad practice games to be played at Brisbane's Redlands ground in the weeks prior to the opening Test at the Gabba.
As foreshadowed, berths in Australia's Ashes squad will be decided by an internal hit-out similar to the trial held in Southampton before the 2019 UK campaign began, a concept that ultimately paved the way for Marnus Labuschagne's rise to Test cricket.
The Australia trial will be held at Redlands (Labuschagne's home Premier Cricket club) from December 1-3 with the final Ashes squad to be chosen from an expanded group of 'hopefuls' that will be named in the next week or so.
England's warm-up for the first of five Tests will begin eight days earlier at the same venue when Redlands hosts a three-day fixture between the tourists' Ashes squad and the England Lions (essentially England's second XI), who will also be in Australia during the summer.
Those two England teams will then play a second warm-up game at Ian Healy Oval in Brisbane's inner-north (part of the newly developed National Cricket Campus) from November 30-December 3, with that venue to also host an Australia A-England Lions fixture during the first Vodafone Test at the Gabba.
In announcing the further update to the 2021-22 summer schedule, Cricket Australia also confirmed the planned men's Test between Australia and Afghanistan that was to be held in Hobart later this month has been postponed.
The historic maiden Test meeting between the game's oldest and newest teams was to be held at Blundstone Arena from November 27, but the reported opposition of Afghanistan's Taliban government to supporting women's cricket prompted CA to seek further advice earlier this year.
After an extensive consultation process that included global cricket bodies and the Australian government, CA and the Afghanistan Cricket Board agreed the Test could not go ahead as planned.
"CA is committed to support growing the game for women and men in Afghanistan and around the world, however, given the present uncertainty, CA felt it necessary to postpone the Test match until a later time when the situation is clearer," CA said in a statement released today.
"CA looks forward to hosting Afghanistan players in the BBL this season, who are great ambassadors for the game, and to hosting both the Afghanistan women’s and men’s team in the not-too-distant future."
With Hobart no longer hosting what would have been its first Test match since 2016, further details of the Marsh Sheffield Shield and One Day Cup competitions have also been confirmed.
Blundstone Arena will now host Tasmania's Shield-One Day Cup double against Western Australia from November 21-26, while details of a third consecutive Shield encounter between New South Wales and Victoria have been locked in for the SCG from November 19-22.
The two teams, whose early season travel plans were restricted due to COVID-19 protocols, will also contest a Marsh One Day Cup game in Sydney on November 24.
Australia Test captain Tim Paine revealed today he hoped to play "either a second XI or Shield game" for Tasmania prior to the intra-squad game in Brisbane as part of his return from recent surgery, and finalisation of the next phase of domestic matches will help with his planning.
And the updated men's domestic schedule also sees South Australia once again host Queensland in the Sheffield Shield (November 23-26) and One Day Cup (November 28), although the location of the Weber WBBL finals will dictate whether that Shield match is held at Adelaide Oval or Karen Rolton Oval.
The subsequent Marsh One Day Cup match (at Adelaide Oval) will be the last fixture of the men's domestic competitions before the start of the KFC BBL season.
"The eve of an Ashes summer is an exciting time for every cricket fan, and it's fantastic to confirm a schedule that provides both teams with some excellent preparation in the lead up to the first ball at the Gabba," Peter Roach, CA's Head of Cricket Operations and Scheduling, said today.
"Just as importantly, we’re pleased to continue the Marsh Sheffield Shield and Marsh One-Day Cup competitions to ensure players are getting the opportunity to put their hand up for selection in Australia's red and white-ball teams.
"It's brilliant to see so much elite cricket being played, particularly at the redeveloped Ian Healy Oval, and there is no doubt both the English and Australian teams are going to be well prepared leading into the first Vodafone Ashes Test."
Nov 23-25: England vs England Lions, Redlands, Brisbane
Nov 30 – Dec 3: England vs England Lions, Ian Healy Oval, Brisbane
Dec 1-3: Australian intra-squad match, Redlands, Brisbane
Dec 9-12: Australia A vs England Lions, Ian Healy Oval, Brisbane
Marsh Sheffield Shield
Nov 19-22: New South Wales vs Victoria, SCG
Nov 21-24: Tasmania vs Western Australia, Blundstone Arena
Nov 23-26: South Australia vs Queensland, Adelaide Oval or Karen Rolton Oval
Marsh One-Day Cup
Nov 24: New South Wales vs Victoria, SCG
Nov 26: Tasmania vs Western Australia, Blundstone Arena (Day-night)
Nov 28: South Australia vs Queensland, Adelaide Oval
Vodafone Men's Ashes v England
First Test: December 8-12, The Gabba
Second Test: December 16-20, Adelaide Oval
Third Test: December 26-30, MCG
Fourth Test: January 5-9, SCG
Fifth Test: January 14-18, Perth Stadium