Game on! CA unveils schedule for BBL|10
Tournament to kick off in Tasmania and Canberra before extending to Queensland, with venues thereafter to hinge on government restrictions
5 November 2020, 08:09 AM AEST
Cricket Australia is hoping the continued easing of state border restrictions will allow the KFC BBL to be played at all major centres this summer as the governing body confirmed the opening rounds of the tournament will be played in Tasmania, Queensland, Canberra and Adelaide.
CA today announced the revised dates, start times and matchups for all 56 regular season games, but venues have been confirmed only for the first 21 matches up until December 31.
With news in recent days that several state borders are set to re-open before the season begins on December 10, officials will wait to see if there are more announcements in the coming weeks before confirming where the tournament will be played in the new year.
Although complete freedom of movement around Australia is still not possible due to the pandemic, only seven of the first 21 games will be played at neutral venues.
All eight teams will be based in either Tasmania or Canberra to start the season, with six games to be played at Blundstone Arena in Hobart, two at UTAS Stadium in Launceston and six at Manuka Oval in Canberra.
From December 23-31, there will also be three matches at the Gabba, two at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast and two at the Adelaide Oval – including the traditional New Year's Eve game.
The competition's 10th season will begin in Hobart on December 10 with a match-up between the Hurricanes and the Sydney Sixers, the defending champions.
The scheduling of the day-night Test between Australia and India on December 17-21 interrupts the early part of the season somewhat; there will be no BBL on days one, two and five of that Test while matches starting at 11.10am AEDT have been scheduled to act as curtain-raisers for days three and four.
There are also five games early in the season that are set to clash with India's three-day, day-night tour match against Australia A in Sydney from December 11-13.
The long-discussed Christmas Day game won't happen again this year and after the BBL takes a mini break on December 24 and 25, there will be at least one match every day between Boxing Day and Australia Day, when the regular season will end with a potentially cut-throat triple header on January 26 that could decide playoff spots.
OFFICIAL | It's a new-look #BBL10 fixture! 🤗 More details to come on Jan-Feb, but you can check out ALL the match-ups & dates here 👉 https://t.co/qgkj6iyQx3 pic.twitter.com/704nA2qzs8— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) November 4, 2020
The five-game finals series will start on January 29 and conclude on Saturday, February 6.
CA is hoping state borders will continue to be relaxed over the coming weeks as it looks to take games to Perth, Sydney and Melbourne in the new year, although those decisions rest with the relevant state governments.
"We are working through scenarios for the 35 regular season matches and finals series to be played in the new year with our partners and government bodies," Alistair Dobson, Cricket Australia's Head of Big Bash Leagues, said in a statement.
"An announcement on these venues will be made in the coming weeks.
"This is without doubt the most complex fixturing task ever undertaken by the League and we are excited with where it has landed. It has been a difficult year for so many people around Australia and we look forward to bringing the BBL to every state, should border conditions allow us to."
The WA government this week announced its border will open on November 14 to all states and territories except NSW and Victoria, raising the possibility of the BBL heading west from Queensland and South Australia early in the new year.
WA's border restrictions have been the toughest in Australia this year and means there will be no international cricket played in Perth this season.
On Wednesday, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian announced plans for the NSW-Victoria border to open on November 23, which is another boost to the BBL.
While it's hoped the easing of borders will allow for greater movement across the country in the new year, it's likely there will still be some matches at neutral venues throughout January.
The two Melbourne derbies and two Sydney derbies are scheduled to be played between January 13 and 22. Holding them later in the season increases the chances of sizeable crowd numbers should COVID-19 infection numbers in Australia remain low.
Information about ticket sales and crowd capacities at each venue are yet to be announced.
Forty-five of the 61 games – including all the finals – will be shown on Channel Seven, while Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports will broadcast all matches.