Sydney, Aug 7 : Cricket Australia (CA) has decided to commence their domestic season in the middle of National Rugby League (NRL) and Australian Football League (AFL) in an attempt to give more time to their players to get ready for the summer''s Test series against South Africa.
With the national team due to start their Test campaign this season in early November, CA has opted to play the opening round of the Sheffield Shield in mid-September to give players a chance to be match fit to take on the powerful Proteas.
The starting date for the Shield is one month earlier than last season and is designed to give prospective Test players the chance to play in potentially three longer-form games for their state before the battle against South Africa.
The presence of the Champions League Twenty20 has also necessitated an earlier start, according to the CA.
"I have no doubt there will be comment about starting the season while football codes are still in operation but we want to give our cricketers the best opportunities to prepare for international cricket and balancing that with an opportunity for some to play on a global stage, such as at Champions League Twenty20," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted CA boss James Sutherland, as saying.
"The first Vodafone Test in Brisbane is starting three weeks earlier than last season and we want to align out interstate programming accordingly to provide players with adequate opportunities to prepare for that series, as well as providing aspirants with plenty of opportunities," Sutherland added. (ANI)