I have been calling for some time for Cricket Australia announce its first class schedule for the 2013/14 season principally because I am more than a bit concerned about Australia’s preparation for the first test at the Gabba kicking off on 21 November.
I wrote earlier today on my current worries about the Australian teams preparation. Now that Cricket Australia has announced the schedule, I have to say my worries have not been sated.
Based on the schedule released, there will be 3 rounds of Sheffield Shield cricket before the first test. Those rounds will take place on:
30 October – 2 November
6 November – 9 November
13 November – 16 November
I have two problems with this schedule:
1. There are not enough first class games. The domestic season starts on 29 September in Australia with the Ryobi Cup 4 week tournament during which there will be no first class cricket. I can not understand why Cricket Australia would not make more games available for players who might be involved in the test match to gain form in the long form of the game.
2. The players participating in the India ODI tour will only get one first class game before the first test. If you are in the ODI squad going to India and you are a test player or you are on the fringe of the test team then you will only, realistically be able to play in the final round of the Sheffield Shield before the first test given that the last game of the India tour is on 2 November and they will need to travel back to Australia and get over jet lag.
I remain of the view that Cricket Australia should be doing everything possible to prepare the Australian team for the home ashes series. This first class schedule coupled with the Indian ODI tour is a long way from doing that!