The tenth edition of Australia's Big Bash League will kick off on December 3, aligning with the start of the scheduled first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Cricket Australia announced with the release of the fixtures list on Wednesday. Adeliade Strikers will take on Melbourne Renegades at home, at the Adelaide Oval, on the opening night while the final is scheduled for February 6.
The tournament starts more than two weeks earlier than it did the last season, and continues for over 60 days - for the first time in tournament's history - to allow room for contingencies due to COVID-19. The decision of an early start to the season has been taken "following extensive consultation with clubs, broadcasters and other stakeholders", CA said in the official statement.
While majority of the 56 matches will be played in the evening, there are only eight double-headers of which only two start earlier than 5pm.
The Women's Big Bash League is also set to feature a full schedule of 59 games and will continue to get its standalone time as the sixth edition will kickstarts on October 17 with the Finals slated for November 27 and 29 and the venue yet to be determined. A total of 26 games, including the three Finals, have been earmarked for live broadcast.
The WBBL will feature a three-week, mid-season Sydney hub for all the eight clubs, after considering the biosecurity, broadcast and operational requirements, which provides added flexibility to the fixtures in the current COVID-19 climate.
"While we know that the challenging, fast-changing coronavirus pandemic could ultimately mean revisions to the schedule, there is nonetheless a lot to like about the way both competitions are shaping up," said Alistair Dobson, the head of Big Bash League. "It is our sincere hope that the WBBL|06 and BBL|10 will go some way towards lifting the spirits of, and restoring a sense of normality to, the nation.
"The League is pleased to have delivered a fixture that includes matches in each club's home market while also reducing the overall travel burden on clubs. By focusing parts of the competition in a central location (Sydney), it also provides optionality should the COVID-19 situation affect the flow of the season and we remain vigilant in all aspects of our planning to provide a safe environment for players and staff.
"As with all sporting competitions around the world, we must remain vigilant and agile in responding to the Covid-19 situation as it develops and we will continue to work with all relevant federal and state government agencies, biosecurity experts, venues, clubs, players, broadcast partners and our own internal teams to ensure a safe and successful summer."