Cricket Australia 2021, Ashes series, England, summer time, Cricket test, first class, Sheffield Shield
Cricket Australia is set to heavily load the summer program with red ball cricket to prepare its stars for the first test against England, in a plan dubbed Operation Ashes.
According to Sydney Morning Herald, 60% of the Sheffield Shield season will be played before Australia host England at Gabba on December 8.
The idea is to give as many contenders for the Ashes team as many opportunities as possible to claim the selection and build a shape with wickets and leads.
Australia’s biggest multi-format stars will take part in the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates from early October and the schedule will also give them a chance to take a peek before they travel.
Watch the Qantas West Indies Tour live and on demand on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14 Free Days Now>
Cricket Australia is expected to release the full schedule on Wednesday, with a late September start for the Sheffield Shield – with six of 10 rounds scheduled before the first test.
Australia have not lost an Ashes Test at home since 2011, winning the last two sets in a dominant fashion, 5-0 and 4-0.
The current plan will also give rising stars such as Cameron Green and Will Pucovski, who are expected to be heavily involved throughout the Ashes, time to get up to speed and prepare as much as possible.
Pucovski is expected to join David Warner at the top of the order if he can overcome a shoulder injury and regain the form that saw him make his Test debut against India.
It is also reported that a possible four-day Australia A v England A match will run alongside the first test at the Ian Healy Oval in Brisbane, to ensure more first-class cricket.
The March One Day Cup is scheduled to start in mid-September to give more visibility to the white balls ahead of the T20 World Cup.